More and more people rely on their computers and tablets for work – whether they are in an office or at home. According to the Philippine Journal of Ophthalmology, a call center agent spends around 4 -8 hours in front of a computer or video display terminal on a typical workday, but this can be anyone – a graphic artist, a writer or an accountant.
Along with the boom of the digital age come serious health concerns – especially for the eyes – like eye strain, dry eyes or headaches stemming from excessive use. This is known as Computer Vision Syndrome or Digital Eye Strain, eye and vision problems related to activities that stress the eyes in conjunction with prolonged computer, tablet or cell phone use. Other symptoms like tired eyes, irritation, redness, blurred or double vision, eye strain, headache and even neck strain are commonly reported by users who look at their computer screen more than six hours a day. Moreover, the level of discomfort increases with the amount of digital screen use.
Therefore, it is important to avoid digital eye strain in the workplace. One such easy practice while at your desk is to follow the 20-20-20 rule: take a 20-second break to look at something 20 feet away for every 20 minutes.
Here are a few more tips to help keep your eyes healthy and in tiptop shape for anyone at the computer:
- – Have an eye check-up every two years. If you need a new prescription or need to change it, don’t delay getting new lenses.
- – Reposition your computer. The screen should be about an arm’s length away and positioned directly in front of you, never to the side. Position your monitor so its center is 4 to 8 inches below your eyes, which allows the neck to relax while you read and type.
- – Follow guidelines for good posture to reduce strain on the back, neck and shoulders.
- – Ensure proper lighting. Try the visor test to determine if current lighting is a problem: look at the monitor and cup your hands over your eyes like a baseball cap. If your eyes immediately feel better, then the lighting should be changed. Experiment with brightening and dimming the lighting, as well as the angle of the lights, to find what’s most comfortable for your eyes.
- – Reduce computer glare. Install anti-glare filters on your monitor, adjust window shades or change your screen’s brightness to help reduce glare and reflections.
- – Don’t forget to blink! If you have dry eyes and blinking doesn’t help, use lubricating eye drops. Also make sure air vents aren’t blowing on your face and use a humidifier if the room is super dry.
- – Take regular work breaks. Stand, get a coffee or just look into the distance to give the eyes a break.
- – Clean your monitor regularly. Dust can decrease screen sharpness, making the eyes work harder.
- – Try wearing computer glasses. Unlike everyday eyewear, they’re designed specifically for looking at computer screens.