Eye Strain: What to Do at Work

eye strain on computer

With computers being such an integral part of the workplace, many Americans find themselves staring at computer monitors for the better part of their workday.  One result from logging long hours at a computer is eye strain.  Eye strain occurs when your eyes get tired from intense use, such as driving in a car for extended periods, reading or working at a computer (SourceMayoClinic).  While staring at a computer screen all day won’t cause permanent damage to your eyes, it may well make them feel tired and dry.

To help protect your eyes from computer vision syndrome (CVS) and keep eye strain at bay, put the steps below into practice every time you sit down at the computer:

1. Take Breaks

The best way to protect your eyes from eye strain is by giving them a break. Make an effort to regularly look away from your computer and focus on something else in the room.  The key is to change your focus from up close to 20 feet away.

2. Reduce Glare

Reducing or removing glare from your computer screen will significantly reduce the strain on your eyes. Position your screen at a 90 degree angle away from any direct light source and utilize indirect lighting whenever possible.  If able, use an anti-glare screen for your monitor.

3. Adjust Computer Display Settings

There are two main display elements you can adjust to optimize eye safety: Brightness and Text Size and Contrast. Adjust your display so it is approximately the same brightness as your work space. Verify the text on your screen is large enough to read with ease and keep the text black with a white background.

4. Blink Often

When working at the computer, people blink less frequently – about five times less than normal, according to studies (SourceAll About Vision). Blinking moistens the eyes and helps prevent dryness and irritation. Dry eye is caused by tears rapidly evaporating during long non-blinking phases. This coupled with the dry air in most office environments; place you at risk for dry eye problems.

5. Invest in Computer Eyewear

For some, having a dedicated pair of prescription computer glasses adds comfort to computer work. If you wear contacts, which can become especially dry and uncomfortable during prolonged computer exposure, speak to your eye care professional about creating a custom pair of glasses.