Preventing Eye Strain at Work
If you work in an office, you likely spend much of your time at your computer or using a tablet. Using these devices for long periods of time can lead to eye strain.
Using proper lighting in your office and blinking intentionally can help reduce eye strain.
“Several symptoms may appear as a result of eye strain from using computers and electronic devices,” explains Lee Shettle, DO, an osteopathic ophthalmologist practicing in Largo, Florida. “They include headaches, blurred vision, frequent blinking and dry eyes.”
For most people, eye strain is a problem because they are focusing on the material they are viewing with such intensity that they end up not blinking as much. This causes the eyes to become dry. To combat this, Dr. Shettle recommends that computer users blink intentionally or use artificial tears to keep their eyes moist.
Preventing Eye Strain
Other preventive measures that can be taken to ease eye strain include:
- Using proper lighting in your office. This means using fewer light bulbs or fewer fluorescent lights and closing the blinds.
- Replacing old computer monitors with digital, thin-screen monitors. Newer models typically have an anti-reflective screen and are less likely to flicker.
- Minimizing glare on your computer and walls by using an anti-glare screen on your monitor and painting the walls a darker shade.
- Taking frequent breaks. Experts recommend following the 20-20-20 rule, which suggests that every 20 minutes you look at an object 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. This allows your eyes to relax and become more lubricated as a result of increased blinking. Frequent breaks can also improve your ability to focus.
- Positioning the computer monitor between 20 to 40 inches away from your eyes.
- Asking your eye care provider about anti-reflective lenses or special bifocal lenses.
“In addition, the size of the text that appears on your monitor should be adjusted to a comfortable reading level,” adds Dr. Shettle. “Typically, that means increasing the size to about three times larger than the size you normally read.”
Although these preventive measures contribute to healthier eyes, people need to remember to have their eyes examined. Dr. Shettle advises that you should get a complete eye exam by age 40. At that visit, ask the eye doctor for a recommendation on subsequent checkups.