How to take care of eyes strained by computer

07 October 2012 - 02:06 By Money & Careers

Many workers spend most, if not all, of their working day in front of a computer screen. Ilse Homan, owner of IM Optical Optometrists, says: "Computer eye strain has become a major office-related complaint

"Symptoms can range from headaches, blurred vision, physical fatigue and decreased productivity, to minor annoyances like dry, irritated eyes and eye twitching."

Homan has the following advice on how to take care of your eyes:

Reduce bright light, whether it's from excessive sunlight or harsh interior lighting. Make sure the office windows are to the side of your monitor rather than in front or behind;

If you wear glasses, consider having the lenses treated with an anti-reflective coating;

LCD screens are easier on the eyes. Adjust the brightness of the display to be the same as that of your surrounding work station;

Remember to blink! It helps to keep the front surface of your eyes moist, thus reducing dryness and irritation. When working at a computer people will often blink five times less than normal. Blink frequently;

Accommodative spasm can occur in the eyes' focusing muscles after prolonged computer work. This exercise can help to avoid it. Look at an object far away (about 6m) for 10-15 seconds, then gaze at something up close (about 40cm). Then look back at the distant object. Do this for about a minute, at least three times a day;

To reduce your risk of eye strain by constantly focusing on your screen, look away at least every 20 minutes and gaze at a distant object (at least 6m) for at least 20 seconds. Looking in the distance relaxes the focusing muscle inside the eye to reduce fatigue;

Taking two 15-minute breaks from your computer each day to reduce discomfort and eye strain and to increase productivity. During these breaks, stand up, move about and stretch your arms, legs, back, neck and shoulders to reduce tension; and

Make sure you sit at a proper distance from the computer (at least 60cm). Your screen should be 10-15 degrees below your eyes for comfortable positioning of your head and neck.