Many of our patients spend most of the day using a computer. This type of concentrated visual effort places stress on the visual system and can lead to headaches, fatigue, neck, back and shoulder pain, and dry eyes among other symptoms.
Here are some tips for computer use that will help you avoid problems!
1. Take vision breaks every 20 minutes or so by simply closing your eyes or looking out the window for 20 seconds. That’s only a one-minute break for every 59 minutes you work, but it can prevent eyestrain and help your eyes refocus.
2. Position your monitor properly with the top of the display at or slightly below eye level. This will allow you to view the screen with your eyes in downgaze (similar to reading a book) and it allows you to use progressive or bifocal lenses without having to raise your chin to get the screen in focus.
3. Reduce glare on the monitor by using blinds or curtains on windows to control the amount of light entering the room. If glare is caused from overhead lights, use a dimmer or replace light bulbs with lower wattage bulbs. If you can’t control the light in your office, an anti -glare screen for the monitor may be helpful.
4. Blink frequently to prevent the surface of your eye from drying out. Dry eyes can be a problem with extensive screen viewing because your blink rate decreases when looking at a screen. This is particularly important if you wear contact lenses. If you find that blinking is not reducing your feelings of dry eyes, try over the counter artificial tears. Consult your optometrist about dry eye and artificial tears, because some eye drops may work better for you than others.
5. Computer glasses? Your eye doctor should ask about your specific work tasks and recommend the proper vision correction to keep your eyes as much at rest as possible. Before your eye exam, measure the distance between your eyes and your computer screen. Computer glasses may also use lens coatings that protect the eyes from high energy visible light (HEV).