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Computers and Your Eyes

With the winter months here, many people are spending increasing amounts of time in front of the computer while at home. The time spent is often on top of the many hours they are already spending at work looking at a computer screen.

The extended amount of computer time can lead to all sorts of eye strain and irritation if you’re not careful.

Before a problem arises for your eyes, there are some things you can do to insure your vision and eye comfort remains in good health.

First, consider getting a routine eye exam and make your eye care professional aware of how often you are using a computer while at work.

Even though it may seem like an obvious thing to have, make sure your computer area – at work and home – has proper lighting. This means both too bright and too dark. Floor lamps are often the preferred lighting instead of overhead fluorescent light, which can create harsh lighting that reflects off monitors. If floor lighting isn’t possible at work, try reducing the number of overhead fluorescent lights in use.

Make sure your computer display settings are at a level that is comfortable for long term use. This reduces eye strain and fatigue. Adjust the display brightness to about the same as the reading, especially when reading or writing longer documents.

Another thing that might seem obvious at first, but is too often overlooked is take steps to minimize monitor glare. Glare creates eye strain and is easily corrected.

With chronic cases of eye fatigue and irritation, you might consider discussing with your eye care professional a modification of your eyeglass prescription if you currently have one. Contact lens wearers who do sustained, long term computer work should consider “computer” glasses to avoid eyes becoming dry and uncomfortable while at work.

Remember to give your eyes a rest at work and home. After every 20 minutes of computer work make sure to look away at a distant object for at least 20 seconds. It allows the focusing muscles in the eyes to relax, which will greatly reduce eye fatigue.

And above all else…blink.

While many of us tend to stare intently at the monitor while working at the computer, blinking keeps the eye moistened, which goes a long way towards preventing irritations and dryness.

Written by Dr. Shah

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