If you spend most of your weekday sitting in front of a video display terminal, you've probably noticed that using a computer can be a pain in the neck, the eyes and almost every other part of your body!
It's no wonder computers cause eye strain. Studies have shown that computer users tend to stare at a glowing screen without blinking for much longer periods than do people who use typewriters. This is why many people using computers experience dry eye problems. In addition, computer screens reflect a great deal of glare - from windows, overhead lights and even the user's own bright clothing. Finally, many computer users sit practically face-to-face with the monitor.
Whether you spend every day or only a few hours a week using a computer, there are steps you can (and should) take to reduce the physical strains from computer use.
Steps to follow, when using a computer:
1. Have a thorough eye examination. While everyone should have their eyes checked once a year, annual eye exams are especially important for computer users.
2. Follow the "20/20 rule." Keep your face at least 20 inches from the screen and pause every 20 minutes or so to look around the room, so your eyes can focus on distant objects. Regular eye exercise helps prevent eye strain.
3. Place all materials you are working with at the same distance as the screen. This reduces strain of your eyes and neck.
4. Make sure you have a glare screen, which should block glare without making the characters on the monitor appear fuzzy. Also if possible, move or adjust the computer screen to avoid reflections from windows or indoor lights.
5. Sit on a stable, comfortable, adjustable chair. If it is possible to put the keyboard a few inches below the desktop, for example, with an adjustable table, or by using a center drawer of a desk for a pullout keyboard rest, do so. This will keep your arms at a more comfortable angle.
6. Place computer monitor at a 35-degree angle below your eyes. This reduces incidence of Dry Eye.
7. Use preservative-free artificial tears intermittently when on the computer if your eyes get red and irritated. Much of computer fatigue is caused by Dry Eye.
Finally, take periodic breaks from the computer during the day, walk around and do some non-computer tasks for about 15 minutes every two or three hours.