you on the computer many hours a day or at one time? Do you find
yourself looking away, squinting, or rubbing your eyes? Anyone
who uses the computer for long periods of time can be putting
undue strain on their eyes. Here are some of my Do's and Don'ts
on how you can keep your eyes healthy and see your best while
at the computer. Remember to always consult your doctor if you
have problems that are not easily remedied, or are interfering
with your lifestyle.
Give your eyes a break!
Ideally, some kind of break where
you can get up and move your whole body around is suggested. However,
during a workday this is not always possible. In the old days
when people used typewriters, they would not be staring directly
at them as we do computers; they would have to put paper in, change
ink, push the barrel, etc. All of these actions used different
muscles not just in the eye but in the upper body. Eyestrain use
to be much less prevalent. What is needed now while at a computer
is to change your focus at least every 20 minutes. Here are a
1.1. Get up and look out the window for a few minutes, or get
up and walk around, or if you need to be reading something, read
it in a different chair.
2.2. Roll your neck around, look at the ceiling and look side
3.3. Stretch your arms out or stand up. It is always best to get
out of the position you are in, but if that is not possible then
at least focus your eyes on something else for a few minutes.
A Good Work Area is Essential
Glare can be a problem with the computer screen, but you should
see an eye doctor first to make sure that glare is your real problem.
Glare problems can be addressed with anti-glare products and proper
lighting. You should also consult with a licensed eye care professional
to see what will work for you.
Ideally, research says that the
computer should be about 20-28 inches away from your eyes. Experiment
to see what is best for you. Also, adjust your settings, such
as brightness, contrast, fonts and even colors to see what is
best for you. You may also want to look into computer ergonomics.
The correct chair and station for you can not just avoid eye problems
but also head, neck and other possible areas that are strained
from sitting for long periods of time.
Are things you need far from your
desk? Or is everything within a glimpse? Maybe it is good to have
what you most need near you, but there is something to be said
about putting things in areas where you have to move to get to
them, or mixing things up once in awhile so that your eyes are
not following the same movements all the time.
There are a lot of products that
are available that claim to help cut down on glare or otherwise
improve your viewing experience. Some of these claims are valid
and some are not. However, the first step is to visit your eye
doctor. That would be money well spent. You may find that it is
not glare, but perhaps a change or prescription or a different
prescription that is needed for computer viewing. Or, it could
be a glare issues. Each person is different and you will need
a trained eye professional to help you figure out what will help
you the most.
Blink and Move
A symptom of eye fatigue is that
your eyes may blink less, which may lead to dry eyes. Be sure
to think about blinking. Not blinking enough can upset the delicate
balance of moisture in your eyes. You may also want to consider
a humidifier if the air is dry, as this may compound the problem.
If you think you have dry eyes, please consult your eye doctor.
Your computer may or may not be the culprit and there are treatments
As stated earlier, try to give
your eyes a break every 20 minutes. However, in addition to these
short breaks, change up your computer routine with other activities
during your work time, even something like a 5 minute walk down
the hall or around your building. It is not good for your eyes
nor your body. Your body needs to get up and move, and a good
healthy body is good for your eyes. Go to a physical store instead
of shopping online once in a while. Walk or drive to a friend’s
house instead of visiting them on Facebook. Pick up a real ball
instead of throwing one with your thumb in a video game. You will
not just do your eyes good, but your body and your mind good as
It is okay to write a first draft
or a quick note to someone on pen and paper. It is also a nice
change of pace, for example, to read a newspaper or magazine or
book instead of reading one online. There are also other devices
that you can use, like Iphones and IPads, which use your eyes
differently. You may even want to use some of the vocal options
for completing tasks if available.
Watch for Symptoms
If you consistently get a headache or have symptoms such as irritated
eyes or discomfort in your eyes, burning, trouble focusing, blurred
or double vision, blinking a lot or not enough, dry eyes, watery
eyes, sensitivity to light or pain in your face, neck, or upper
back on a regular basis, visit your eye doctor. Any pain in your
body can be associated with staying in the same position, aside
from eye fatigue, and is a sign that something needs to be done.
If you have any of these symptoms, they may or may not be caused
by working at the computer and you should have them checked out.
Our world is filled with screens
- phones, computers, video games, mobile devices. Each one of
these, when used consistently, can affect our eyes. There is no
easy answer on how to prevent eye strain, but it is becoming much
more prevalent since the turn of the century, and it is becoming
a real problem that can cause not just lifestyle changes, but
missed work productivity. Fortunately, there are easy remedies,
so see your doctor at the onset of symptoms.
Dr. Niki Silverstein is
a Board-certified ophthalmologist in Chester, NJ who takes pride
is saying that she has had an ophthalmology practice in Northern
Jersey for the past 25 years. Visit her at http://www.
SilversteinEye.com or on Facebook at Silverstein Eye.
up for Our FREE Email Newsletter