From the FinallyFast Optical Ergonomics Desk:
Fatigue. Lack of focus. Blurry vision. And all-around grumpiness. These are the telltale symptoms of computer eye strain. The modern world—especially for us office folks who spend our days at a computer and then… spend all night at a computer—is hard on the eyes. And you’d definitely be less of a grump if you could fight the end-of-day strain. In that spirit, here are six steps to you can take to combat eye strain at work.
- Take Care of the Physical – Fighting eye strain is an all-body act. Maintain good posture, including sitting straight enough to where there’s a small space between the hollow of your back and the chair back (except in cases where there is a special lumbar support that sticks out). Keep the computer monitor a little less than two feet away from you. And the top of the monitor should roughly coincide with your eye level, such that you are looking right at or a little down at the screen.
- Control the Light – You should not spend long hours at the computer in a room that is either dark or extremely bright. If you take steps to make the room’s brightness similar to the screen’s brightness, your eyes won’t have to strain as much. Also, use a desk lamp near your screen. The best lamps to use are “natural daylight” lamps that mimic actual sunlight, if for the simple reason that sunlight is nourishing and energizing.
- Optimize Your Display – There are naturally a couple things you can do as far as computer settings go to ward off eye strain. Increasing both screen resolution (amount of pixels) and monitor refresh rate (in Hertz) can help. Decreasing brightness, particularly in dark rooms, is beneficial. And you can increase font size to increase readability of text. If you find yourself squinting or bringing your face close to the screen to read something, it’s time to increase font size.
- Release Tension – Frequent breaks are a must. Something like a two-minute break every thirty minutes is extremely helpful. An hour for lunch—and that’s it—is simply inferior to smaller, more frequent breaks. During your breaks, stretch and do neck rolls with your eyes closed.
- Wear Special Glasses – No, I’m not talking about 3D glasses (though we seem to be heading in that direction. But 3D eye strain is a whole different can of worms!). There are special treated glasses that are designed specifically to combat computer eye strain. The best glasses are not just tinted to exclude blue light; they are anti-reflective, and they also add a touch of focus strength (like prescription glasses) to reduce strain.
- Hot Water, Cold Water – For super-duper cases of eye strain, take an extended break and perform some water therapy. Soak a washcloth in hot water (not hot enough to burn, obviously), and slap it across your eyes like a facial. After a few minutes, do the same treatment, but with a washcloth soaked in ice-cold water. If you don’t have access to both hot and very cold water, either one is better than none, but the hot and cold alternation is very effective in relaxing the face muscles that control the eyes.
Have any other eye strain tricks that have worked for you? Let us know in the comments!