With the computer becoming increasingly more important in the workspace, computer eye strain has started to become more and more of a problem. Studies have shown that close to 50 – 90 percent of computer workers have some kind of visual symptom as a result of their work.
The kind of problems these workers suffer from can range from decreased productivity, fatigue, increased work errors, red-eye, and minor eye twitching.
Below are 5 steps that you can use to reduce the amount of eye strain that you may or may not suffer from while using your computer:
1. Use Computer Glasses
Computer glasses were designed primarily for computer workers. These glasses are designed to allow the end users eye focus on the distance of the screen. These also help reduce glare, optimizing your visual experience.
2. Take Blinking Breaks
In everyday life, the average person may blink around 20 times per minute. However, when looking at a computer screen, this number can and typically do half. Blinking is very important because the upper eyelid works by spreading tears over the front of your eyes, very similar to how windshield wipers work in a car. If this process is not done enough, then the cornea will dry out and you will begin to feel irritation.
There is what is called a 20/20/20 rule, whenever you are starting at your computer screen: this means, every 20 minutes, you should look 20 feet away for 20 seconds, just so your eyes can start to blink naturally, giving it the much-needed rest. If your eyes are always dry and irritated, then you should try using a laptop instead. When looking at the screen of a laptop, less eye surface is exposed, which means the tear evaporation is much slower; this leads to more moist being in your eyes at any one time.
If you’re on a desktop solution, then you could try raising your chair or tiling your screen so that you aren’t looking straight at it, but at an angle.
3. Consider Steeping
Maybe you’d like to consider swapping that regular coffee for some green tea; why would you want to do that? Because it’s not only hydrating, but the brew has what is called catechins, which are among many other antioxidants (such as vitamins C/E, lutein etc.) that help protect the tissues of your eyes. Catechins are absorbed in its highest amount via the retina, the area of the eye designed to detect light.
4. Adjust Screen Settings
Adjusting the screen settings can prove an effective way of reducing eye fatigue and strain. Generally, you’ll want to adjust the following things:
Brightness: You’ll want to adjust screen brightness so that it is in sync with everything else within one’s workspace. As a test, you could use any color on your screen, such as a grey background. If it appears white to your eyes, then you know it’s too bright; then again, if it’s grey and dull, it could be too dark.
Text Size and Contrast: Consider adjusting the contrast and text size of your screen, this is especially helpful when reading or writing large documents. Your best combination is usually black text on a white background.
Colour Temperature: This is a technical term which describes the spectrum of visible light emitted by your display. Blue light, for example, is short wavelength visible light, such light is associated with more eye strain than other wavelength hues such as red and orange. If you reduce your displays color temperature, then you’re essentially reducing the amounts of blue light emitted, which in turn improves your viewing comfort.
If you’re running a Windows-based system, then you should be able to alter the display settings in the Control Panel. For Apple users, display settings can be found in Systems Preferences.
5. Get an Eye Examination
If you’re having computer vision issues, then having your eyes routinely examined, is one of the most important things that you can do. If your eyes haven’t been examined in over a year, then you may want to schedule a visit with your eye doctor today. According to several health associations, they claim that computer users should have their eyes examined at least once a year.
During the examination, it’s important that you tell your eye doctor how much time you spend on your computer. You should also measure the distance of which you stand from your computer screen, and bring this measurement in with you to your examination, that way your eye doctor will be able to test your eyes at that specific distance.
Uchenna Ani-Okoye is a former IT Manager who now runs his own computer support website http://www.compuchenna.co.uk.