Your eyes are your windows to the world. Without them, you can’t see anything – the faces of those around you, a book to read, or the scenery around you. For this reason, it is very important to ensure that you do what you can to keep them healthy – just as you would your heart, lungs, or any other vital organ.
Looking into a computer screen all day long at work or school can cause eye strain, which can in turn cause headaches, blurred or double vision, fatigue, dry or tired eyes, lightheadedness, dizziness, car sickness, and even lack of concentration.
With so many professions depending on the internet, virtual communication, and the electronic sharing of documents, how can one even hope to avoid eye strain and its not so desirable side effects?
Below are some ways to reduce on-the-job eye strain if you find yourself stuck behind a computer all or most of the day.
1. Control Screen Brightness – The brightness of the screen should be about as bright as the room. Toning down the brightness of the display is a great way to give your eyes a rest, but toning it down too much in heavy florescent lighting can have the opposite effect. Doing this is really easy – most laptops have the controls right on the keyboard.
2. Font Sizes – Squinting your eyes to read words on the screen is a quick way to get a headache. Making the display font larger, or enlarging the the page size to over 100% of its regular size is an easy way to save wear on your eyes. To do this, just hold down the control key (or command on a mac) and press the “+” key.
3. Take a Break – Get up and away from your computer. Take time to look around you. If you need to stop and think about something, don’t sit and stare into your screen while doing it. Look out the window or at something across the office if a window is not available. Focusing on something farther away that isn’t emitting light for a few minutes will give your eyes a nice rest. Another great way to relax your eyes is to close them and cup your hands over them without pressing down for as long as you feel necessary.
4. Connect with Nature – Put a plant on your desk or somewhere in your office. Having some form of vegetation present will increase humidity and help minimize dust and other particles in the air that could irritate your eyes.
5. Get Your Nose Out of the Screen – The closer you sit to the screen, the less time it takes for your eyes to begin feeling strained. Sitting farther away will also help your ability to look around you more often, not becoming so engrossed in looking into the screen for a long period of time.
6. Eye Drops – To deal with the side effects of dryness or tired eyes if you absolutely can’t avoid them, put some moisture back into your eyes to lessen these effects.
7. Don’t Watch as Much TV – While it’s entertaining and a break after a day of work, staring at it for an extended amount of time can have the same effects as sitting behind a computer all day.
8. Read a Book – Do this or find some other form of entertainment that doesn’t involve looking into a screen. Get some fresh air with an outdoor activity, play a game with a friend, or if the weather is bad or it’s late at night, reading a book or magazine is something you can always fall back on. This goes hand-in-hand with number seven, with the purpose of reducing your screen exposure to avoid the side effects.
Sources and other resources about avoiding eye strain on the job: