There are many chronic health problems unique to the modern office workplace. Whereas factory workers and manual laborers must fear falling rebar or toxic exposure, indoor workers are afflicted by sedentary conditions that are slow developing but still severe. This can include back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome and heart disease brought on by obesity or a lack of exercise.
One of the lesser known “white-collar” health problems is called computer vision syndrome, or “digital eye strain”. As you would expect, this is a chronic condition caused by staring too long into computer screens that manifests itself in symptoms such as dryness, irritation and even eye twitching.
The good news is that computer vision syndrome is easily preventable if treated proactively. Here are 6 easy tips on How To Prevent Computer Vision Syndrome:
Computer screens are harder to see in a brightly lit room, and many people turn their brightness up past the point of comfort to compensate without realizing. This can be very hard on your eyes. If you can, turn off desk lamps near your computer and dim any overhead lights (especially fluorescent bulbs).
You can also try to eliminate glare by closing the blinds and relying on indirect sources of lighting. After your eyes adjust, you may be shocked to find how bright your computer screen has been.
Dim Your Screen
Most office workers have their computer screens on too bright. Whatever the reason, you will want to adjust the brightness down. Your computer screen should be roughly the same color as its surrounding environment (desk, cubicle, etc.). If the screen appears like a light source, it’s probably too bright.
You can also make things easier on your eyes by adjusting the size of any text you are reading on screen. This can be done by increasing the display percentage in a Word Document or a PDF, for example. Its better to read something at 16 point font or 200% resolution than to use reading glasses in conjunction with a screen. As for color, contrast is king. It’s always best to read dark color text on a light-colored background. The greater the difference, the better.
Make sure you have the highest quality computer screen possible. The best screen for eye health is a liquid crystal display (or LCD) screen, with the highest resolution and refresh rate for that particular device. And contrary to popular trends with tablets and mobile devices, you also want to have the biggest size screen available. Desktops are preferred.
Exercise Your Eyes
Your eyes are less likely to become dry or tired if you move them around. Blink frequently throughout the day, and take occasional breaks from staring at your computer screen. Try to stay active with what you look at and how you move. A useful trick is the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, spend 20 seconds staring at an object 20 feet away. This will help keep your vision strong throughout the day.
Improve Your Posture
Many office workers have terrible posture when they are sitting at a computer. The angle at which you sit can not only cause joint pain, but can also make it more difficult to read off a computer screen. Maintain good posture, avoid leaning your neck forward, and try to keep your computer screen level with your eyes at all times. You can also do stretching exercises during any 20-20-20 breaks you take to help loosen up your shoulders and neck.
Schedule Regular Eye Exams
It is important to have a comprehensive and routine eye exam to check for any problems that may be developing. This will help cut off any serious problems before they start, and will avoid computer vision problems exacerbated by minor eye conditions.
For example, being mildly farsighted can cause you to squint at a computer screen, while workers who wear contact lenses are noticeably more likely to develop dry eye syndrome while working on a computer. Visit your local optometrist or ophthalmologist to get on a regular schedule of eye exams. Its never too late.