Reduce the Risk of Computer Eye Strain

Optical Health

Tammy George

If you spend most of your work or study day in front of a computer, you have most probably experienced eye strain at some time. The long hours of looking at computer and mobile screens each day are causing Computer Vision Syndrome, also known as Digital Eye Strain. Eye strain not only reduces your productivity but it can make you feel stressed and irritable.   

Symptoms

The symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome include:

  • Sore or irritated eyes
  • Dry eyes
  • Headache
  • Increased time to focus
  • Light sensitivity
  • Blurred vision
  • Double vision
  • Pain in neck, shoulders or back

Ergonomics can Help

Setting up your computer station correctly can help reduce eye strain and other injuries caused by long stretches in front of the screen.   

Some ergonomic suggestions include:

  • Have the screen directly in front of you
  • Place the screen at arm’s length away from you
  • Ensure the top of the computer screen is at or below eye level
  • Keep your head and neck upright and in line with your body
  • If using a mouse, keep it close to the keyboard, so you don’t need to stretch for it

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Eye Strain Solutions

Reduce your risk of suffering from Computer Vision Syndrome with the following tips:

Breaks – take regular breaks away from the screen and focus on objects in the distance to exercise your eyes. Walk away from the screen at least hourly and if you have trouble remembering, set yourself a timer to remind you to stand up and move away.

Blink – using digital devices causes you to blink less than you normally would so make a conscious effort to blink more when you are on the computer, so your eyes don’t dry out.

Eye Test – if you are straining to see the screen, check if you need new glasses.    

Eye Strain in Children

It’s not just office workers that are at risk of eye strain. Some children and teenagers spend long periods of time on digital devices are at more risk of eye strain and damage than previous generations. Teenagers may use a mobile device more than a computer however the small screens can be more harmful than larger ones. They are more likely to squint at the small text and tense their shoulder and neck muscles.  

If you are a parent of school-aged children monitor the amount of time they spend on devices. Once they have had enough time in front of a screen, make sure they go outside and get some sun and exercise.

Computer and mobile devices are an important part of modern-day life, but the long-term impact on our bodies is still becoming clear. Everyone should be vigilant about how they use screens and the amount of time spent in front of them.  

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Tammy George

Please note: Tammy's blog is general advice only. For further information on this topic please consult your healthcare professional.

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