Taking Care of Our Own
Keep Your Eyes Healed
Desk dweller diaries: Keeping eyestrain at bay
By Susan Thoms, M.D., assistant clinical professor, ophthalmology and visual sciences at the W.K Kellogg Eye Center
Do you experience dry burning eyes, headaches or eye pain after a long day at work? If so, you’re
not alone. Nearly everyone uses a computer at some point during their workday. Those of us who spend most of our days at the computer may regularly experience a number of symptoms related to computer use.
Research shows that computers do not emit harmful energy or light, but there are certain things you can do to prevent the common discomforts often associated with computer use:
- Limit prolonged, focused attention on the monitor. This causes your tear film to evaporate because your blink rate decreases when staring at the screen.
- Keep artificial tear drops nearby, especially if you wear contact lenses.
- Make sure your monitor is positioned at eye level, particularly if you wear bifocals. Neck strain can occur if you have to move your head up or down to see. Some people who wear bifocals get a separate pair of glasses just to use while on the computer.
- If you experience eye fatigue frequently, get checked for an eye muscle imbalance. If your eyes are not properly aligned, you can get double vision, eyestrain and fatigue.
- Make sure the monitor is the appropriate reading distance from your eyes. If you need to pull away or move in to focus on the monitor, it might mean it’s not at an appropriate distance for reading. You may need to move the monitor closer or farther away. If you wear reading glasses, measure the distance from your eye to the monitor. The ophthalmologist can then set the lens power to focus at that distance.
- Don’t sit with your back to a window or you will experience glare off the monitor.
- Take little breaks. Look away every half hour at an object in the distance to let your eyes relax.
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