Eye strain has become an all too common problem thanks in part to the spread of computers, TVs, and mobile phones. Although eye strain won’t lead to any permanent damage, it is annoying and can cause general discomfort, blurry vision, headaches, and pain in the neck, back, and shoulders. Some symptoms can point to underlying eye conditions that must be treated with a YAG laser. Here are a few tips to eliminate the eye strain.
All of the Lights
Most commonly, eye strain is caused by bright lights either from harsh interior lighting or from sunlight pouring in through a window.
Close the drapes, shades, or blinds in windows to eliminate exterior lights. Reposition your desk so that windows are at your sides. You don’t want to stare into sunlight all day, and having the sun behind you will cause glare from your computer.
Reduce interior lighting simply by using fewer bulbs or fluorescent tubes. Many computer users complain of overhead fluorescent lights, which, with help from confocal microscopes, have been shown to contribute to eye strain. If possible, turn off overhead fluorescent lights and use floor lamps instead. Consider replacing fluorescent tubes with full spectrum bulbs, which are more similar to natural sunlight. If all else fails, get rid of the fluorescent lights altogether and rely on a desk lamp or other form of task lighting.
Screens and Glaring Mistakes
Although they’re outdated, CRT monitors are still used by some older companies. CRTs cause a noticeable flicker of images, have a low refresh rate, and tend to have a lot of glare, all of which contribute to eye strain. Replace your old CRT with an LCD screen, which is easier on the eyes and has an anti-reflective surface.
Even with a new monitor, make sure you eliminate any glare in your vicinity. Walls, finished surfaces, and reflections in your computer screen can cause glare. Cover your windows and paint bright white walls a darker color.
Blink and You’ll Miss It
The main contributing factor to eye strain is forgetting to blink. Blinking moistens your eyes, preventing irritation and dryness, but recent studies using ophthalmic instruments show that people working at computers blink five times less than normal. Over a long period of time, that’s a lot of dryness and irritation. Considering the air in most offices is dry already, not blinking only makes things worse.
Lubricating eye drops can help, but your best bet is to remember to blink frequently and give your eyes a break every so often. Try this: every 20 minutes or so, blink 10 times very slowly to properly moisten your eyes.