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Computer Eye Strain
Steps for Relief
With so many of us using computers at work, computer eye strain has become a major job-related complaint. Studies show that eye strain and other bothersome visual symptoms occur in 50 to 90 percent of computer workers.
These problems can range from physical fatigue, decreased productivity and increased numbers of work errors, to minor annoyances like eye twitching and red eyes.
Here are easy steps you can take to reduce your risk of computer eye strain and other common symptoms of computer vision syndrome (CVS):
1. Get a comprehensive eye exam
Having a routine comprehensive eye exam is the most important thing you can do to prevent or treat computer vision problems.
According to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), computer users should have an eye exam before they start working on a computer and once a year thereafter.
During your exam, be sure to tell your eye doctor how often you use a computer at work and at home. Measure how far your eyes are from your screen when you sit at your computer, and bring this measurement to your exam so your eye doctor can test your eyes at that specific working distance.
2. Use proper lighting
Eye strain often is caused by excessively bright light either from outdoor sunlight coming in through a window or from harsh interior lighting. When you use a computer, your ambient lighting should be about half as bright as that typically found in most offices.
Eliminate exterior light by closing drapes, shades or blinds. Reduce interior lighting by using fewer light bulbs or fluorescent tubes, or use lower intensity bulbs and tubes. If possible, position your computer monitor or screen so windows are to the side, instead of in front or behind it.
Many computer users find their eyes feel better if they can avoid working under overhead fluorescent lights. If possible, turn off the overhead fluorescent lights in your office and use floor lamps that provide indirect incandescent or halogen lighting instead.
Sometimes switching to 'full spectrum' fluorescent lighting that more closely approximates the light spectrum emitted by sunlight can be more comforting for computer work than regular fluorescent tubes. But even full spectrum lighting can cause discomfort if it's too bright. Try reducing the number of fluorescent tubes installed above your computer workspace if you are bothered by overhead lighting.
3. Minimize glare
Glare on walls and finished surfaces, as well as reflections on your computer screen also can cause computer eye strain. Consider installing an anti-glare screen on your monitor and, if possible, paint bright white walls a darker color with a matte finish.
Again, cover the windows. When outside light cannot be reduced, consider using a computer hood.
If you wear glasses, purchase lenses with anti-reflective (AR) coating. AR coating reduces glare by minimizing the amount of light reflecting off the front and back surfaces of your eyeglass lenses.
If your older monitor is causing computer eye strain, replace it with a flat-panel LCD screen that is easier on the eyes.
4. Upgrade your display
If you have not already done so, replace your old tube-style monitor (called a cathode ray tube or CRT) with a flat-panel liquid crystal display (LCD), like those on laptop computers.
LCD screens are easier on the eyes and usually have an anti-reflective surface. Old-fashioned CRT screens can cause a noticeable 'flicker' of images, which is a major cause of computer eyestrain. Even if this flicker is imperceptible, it still can contribute to eye strain and fatigue during computer work.
Complications due to flicker are even more likely if the refresh rate of the monitor is less than 75 hertz (Hz). If you must use a CRT at work, adjust the display settings to the highest possible refresh rate.
When choosing a new flat panel display, select a screen with the highest resolution possible. Resolution is related to the 'dot pitch' of the display. Generally, displays with a lower dot pitch have sharper images. Choose a display with a dot pitch of .28 mm or smaller.
Flicker is not an issue with LCD screens, since the brightness of pixels on the display are controlled by a 'backlight' that typically operates at 200 Hz.
If you see a lower refresh rate (e.g. 60 Hz) noted on an LCD screen, don't worry - this refers to how often a new image is received from the video card, not how often the pixel brightness of the display is updated, and this function typically is not associated with eye strain.
Finally, choose a relatively large display. For a desktop computer, select a display that has a diagonal screen size of at least 19 inches.
5. Adjust your computer display settings
Adjusting the display settings of your computer can help reduce eye strain and fatigue. Generally, these adjustments are beneficial:
Brightness.: Adjust the brightness of the display so it's approximately the same as the brightness of your surrounding workstation. As a test, look at the white background of this Web page. If it looks like a light source, it's too bright. If it seems dull and gray, it may be too dark.
Text size and contrast.: Adjust the text size and contrast for comfort, especially when reading or composing long documents. Usually, black print on a white background is the best combination for comfort.
Color temperature.: This is a technical term used to describe the spectrum of visible light emitted by a color display. Blue light is short-wavelength visible light that is associated with more eye strain than longer wavelength hues, such as orange and red. Reducing the color temperature of your display lowers the amount of blue light emitted by a color display for better long-term viewing comfort.
For computers running on a Microsoft Windows operating system, display settings can be adjusted in Control Panel. For an Apple computer, display settings are found in Systems Preferences (in the Applications folder in Finder).
In some cases, the color temperature of a desktop computer monitor is adjusted on the display itself.
6. Blink more often
Blinking is very important when working at a computer; blinking moistens your eyes to prevent dryness and irritation.
When working at a computer, people blink less frequently - about one-third as often as they normally do - and many blinks performed during computer work are only partial lid closures, according to studies.
Tears coating the eye evaporate more rapidly during long non-blinking phases and this can cause dry eyes. Also, the air in many office environments is dry, which can increase how quickly your tears evaporate, placing you at greater risk for dry eye problems.
If you experience dry eye symptoms, ask your eye doctor about artificial tears for use during the day.
By the way, don't confuse lubricating eye drops with the drops formulated to 'get the red out.' The latter can indeed make your eyes look better - they contain ingredients that reduce the size of blood vessels on the surface of your eyes to 'whiten' them. But they are not necessarily formulated to reduce dryness and irritation.
To reduce your risk of dry eyes during computer use, try this exercise: Every 20 minutes, blink 10 times by closing your eyes as if falling asleep (very slowly). This will help rewet your eyes.
To ease eye strain, make sure you use good lighting and sit at a proper distance from the computer screen.
7. Exercise your eyes
Another cause of computer eyestrain is focusing fatigue. To reduce your risk of tiring your eyes by constantly focusing on your screen, look away from your computer at least every 20 minutes and gaze at a distant object (at least 20 feet away) for at least 20 seconds. Some eye doctors call this the '20-20-20 rule.' Looking far away relaxes the focusing muscle inside the eye to reduce fatigue.
Another exercise is to look far away at an object for 10-15 seconds, then gaze at something up close for 10-15 seconds. Then look back at the distant object. Do this 10 times.
This exercise reduces the risk of your eyes' focusing ability to 'lock up' (a condition called accommodative spasm) after prolonged computer work.
Both of these exercises will reduce your risk of computer eye strain. Also, remember to blink frequently during the exercises to reduce your risk of computer-related dry eye.
8. Take frequent breaks
To reduce your risk for computer vision syndrome and neck, back and shoulder pain, take frequent breaks during your computer work day.
Many workers take only two 15-minute breaks from their computer throughout their work day. According to a recent NIOSH study, discomfort and eye strain were significantly reduced when computer workers took four additional five-minute 'mini-breaks' throughout their work day.
And these supplementary breaks did not reduce the workers' productivity. Data entry speed was significantly faster as a result of the extra breaks, so work output was maintained even though the workers had 20 extra minutes of break time each day.
During your computer breaks, stand up, move about and stretch your arms, legs, back, neck and shoulders to reduce tension and muscle fatigue.
Check your local bookstore or consult your fitness club for suggestions on developing a quick sequence of exercises you can perform during your breaks and after work to reduce tension in your arms, neck, shoulders and back.
9. Modify your workstation
If you need to look back and forth between a printed page and your computer screen, this can cause eye strain. Place written pages on a copy stand adjacent to the monitor.
Light the copy stand properly. You may want to use a desk lamp, but make sure it doesn't shine into your eyes or onto your computer screen.
Improper posture during computer work also contributes to computer vision syndrome. Adjust your workstation and chair to the correct height.
Purchase ergonomic furniture to enable you to position your computer screen 20 to 24 inches from your eyes. The center of your screen should be about 10 to 15 degrees below your eyes for comfortable positioning of your head and neck.
10. Consider computer eyewear
For the greatest comfort at your computer, you might benefit from having your eye care professional modify your eyeglasses prescription to create customized computer glasses. This is especially true if you normally wear contact lenses, which may become dry and uncomfortable during sustained computer work.
Computer glasses also are a good choice if you wear bifocals or progressive lenses, because these lenses generally are not optimal for the distance to your computer screen.
Hi sir/mam Here is my eyes problems It's always Looking Red. Summer & winter Both days What should I do.
I am 18 year old and very concerned with my increasing myopia. It is currently -6.50 in both eyes. After my study sessions too my eyes feel very tired although I take breaks every 2 hrs and keep splashing water on my eyes to relax. Also I am worried with my dark circles, be it exam season or vacation time they always accompany me. I want to know till what age myopia will increase and can it beat least reduced by following some diet regimes or exercise? Please advice Thanks in advance.
One eye vision was gone. Doctor was tell that vein of back side of eye is collapse, and it is not testable.What it is possible to clear vision.
My age is 21 year. And my problem is I can't see clearly written on the board? Please suggest me any eye drops?
I am 20 year old boy I have problems in eye. My eye is red and like burning during the day what I should do? And I have also problem with eye number in right 1 no. But I can not wear goggles. because my eye is also burning.
I have allergy in my eyes every evening after my full day work on computer and in market. Can you help me.
While taking corrective measures like opting for glasses, contact lens or eye surgery is fine to improve eye health, certain exercises are equally beneficial.
Here are some effective exercises, which can prove to be highly beneficial to improve your eye health:
- Figure of eight: This exercise helps in strengthening the eye muscles and provides flexibility. In this exercise, you need to imagine a huge eight in front of your eyes. Slowly turn the 8 on its side. With the help of your eyes slowly trace the figure of 8. Repeat it the other way after a few minutes.4.
- Deep blinking: This is also an incredibly useful exercise for distance vision. What you have to do is to place some large letters are at a fair distance and then sit on a chair. You have to then close your eyes and tighten all your muscles for 5 seconds. After 5 seconds are over, you have to open your eyes and then you have to see the letters for a second or two. The more number of times you do this, the more clearly you will be able to see the letters after reopening your eyes.However, these eye exercises are not universally accepted by all doctors.
- Flexing: This is simply rotating your eyes in circles. Roll your eyes in the clockwise direction for one minute and then roll your eyes in the anticlockwise direction for one minute.
- Stretching: This is the most common and also one of the easiest to do. It requires you to just look up, hold for two seconds, look down, hold for two seconds and then repeat this procedure for each corner of your eye, which means top-left, top-right, bottom-left and bottom-right corners.
Somebody has cheated me and I blindly believed him so much. And now I want to forger forever but I could not do this. please help me.
I am 24 years old. I do not know what this is called? Might be floaters in eyes. Symptom are that I feel something is there in eyes and when I put finger, a thread like gel (transparent colour) comes out. It is so frequent that every time I have to use hanky or fingers in my eyes to take out that.
What is amblyopia or lazy eye? Amblyopia is decreased vision in one or both eyes due to abnormal development of vision in infancy or childhood. In amblyopia, there may not be an obvious problem of the eye. Vision loss occurs because nerve pathways between the brain and the eye aren't properly stimulated. The brain, learns to see only blurry images with the amblyopic eye even when glasses are used. As a result, the brain favors one eye, usually due to poor vision in the other eye. Another word for amblyopia is 'lazy eye'. It is the leading cause of vision loss amongst children.
The major causes of Amblyopia are as follows:
- Eye Misalignment: The most basic reason for amblyopia is misalignment of the eyes. In case, both your eyes are not aimed in the same proportion or direction, the image from the affected eye is turned off by the brain. Only the better eye functions. Double vision is restricted. The persistence of this defect for a prolonged time, makes the eye lose connection with the brain's visual cortex. Amblyopia develops.
- Imbalanced error of refraction: If the refractive blunder of both the eyes is not the same, both eyes can't be in the center at the same time. Amblyopia happens when one eye stays out of the center since it is more myopic, farsighted, or astigmatic than the other. One eye becomes dominant. This results in the neglect of the unfocused eye, which neglects to associate with the mind. Treatment with glasses or contact lenses to adjust the refractive blunder of the eye is required.
- Cloudiness in the visual system: Any kind of obstruction or cloudiness in the normal functioning of the eye tissues can be another reason, which leads to amblyopia. Disorder of any kind which blocks a clear image from being focused is capable of blocking the formation of a clear image on your retina. This may lead to amblyopia. This is perhaps the most severe type of this disease.
How to cure amblyopia?
For treating amblyopia, a child must be compelled to utilize his affected, weaker eye. This can be done by correction of any disorder of the affected eye such as refractive error, problems in the retina, etc. The goal is to correct the amblyopic eye. The normal eye is usually covered up by a patch, so that only the affected eye can be used for vision. The patching up may continue for weeks, months or years until the best vision gets restored. The improving eye should be maintained well. Spectacles are also prescribed for correction of errors regarding refraction. Eye drops such as atropine are also used for blurring the vision of the good eye. Amblyopia makes you visually impaired. The earliest symptoms must be perceived and acted upon.