These days, computers, smart phones, and other technologies are in every part of our lives. Much of our days are spent on a computer or smart phone. In the last few years, this has resulted in Computer Eye Strain becoming more and more common, with between 50 and 90 percent of computer workers suffering from eye strain and other symptoms. These lead to physical fatigue, decreased productivity and increased work errors and minor annoyances like eye twitching and red eyes.
A person should take several steps in order to reduce his/her risk of computer eye strain and other common symptoms of computer vision syndrome.
First, there are a many ways that you may be able to modify your work area to help your eyes more easily deal with the strain of working on the computer all day. Dr. John House of Texas State Optical in College Station, Texas says, “One of the easiest things you can do is if you have to look back and forth from a printed page to a computer screen, consider putting the printed page on a copy stand next to the monitor and make sure the copy stand is well lit. This will reduce the strain on your eyes from looking back and forth from a lit surface to an unlit surface.”
You should also get rid of light coming in from outside by closing shades or using less or dimmer light bulbs inside, and if possible place your computer screen so that windows to the outside are to the side and not behind or in front of it. This will reduce strain on your eyes from very bright light either from sunlight coming in through a window or from harsh lighting indoors. This will also reduce glare and reflections from your computer screen, walls and other surfaces. To further reduce glare you can also install an anti-glare screen on your computer and paint white walls a darker color with a matte finish.
Your monitor and monitor settings may also be contributing to your eye strain. If you have an old tube-style monitor, it may be time to trash it in favor of a newer LCD screen like those found on laptops. LCD screens usually have an ant-reflective surface, and so are much easier on the eyes. Old style monitors also have a noticeable "flicker," that often contributes a lot to computer eye strain. For a desktop computer, be sure that the display on your new LCD screen is at least 19" diagonal. Be sure to adjust your computer's display settings correctly as well. This can go a long way to reducing eye strain and fatigue. Brightness, text size, contrast and color temperature all add to or diminish your experience.
Finally, having a comprehensive eye exam on a regular basis is one of the most important steps to preventing and treating any kind of harm to your eyes, including computer vision problems. “Computer workers should have an eye exam before they start working, and ever year after that to best keep track of any changes, and treat any symptoms as they come up. During your exam, be sure that your doctor knows how often you use a computer at work and at home and speak to your doctor about eye exercises you can do to keep your eyes from locking up or getting tired.” advises Dr. House. “You may also benefit from speaking to your eye doctor about creating a customized pair of prescription 'computer glasses.' If you wear contact lenses, this can be even more important since contacts can often get uncomfortable after a long time using your computer.”
For more information, contact your eye care professional today!