Working at a computer all day isn’t just bad for your eyes. It’s detrimental to your overall well-being, which can also take a toll on your productivity and success. But for most of us, computer use is an unavoidable part of the job. Many of us have simply become used to the feeling of eye strain, dry eyes, and neck, back, wrist or shoulder pain. After all, isn’t it simply par for the workday course?
Regardless if you work full or part-time, or are simply playing video games for hours a day, any time spent in front of the computer, under the wrong conditions, is too much time. About 90% of computer users experience eyestrain. The good news is you don’t have to relegate yourself to a work life of discomfort. By taking a few simple steps, you can set your workspace up for less eye strain, better vision, and greater well-being.
Visionary tips for improving your eyesight on the job
Adjust your monitor
Set your monitor up 20-30 inches from you. It should be leveled so that the top of your screen is in line with your eyes. Adjust your screen height, prop it up on some books, or get a computer raiser. Just make sure your computer is adjusted properly so you’re facing straight ahead and your eyes are glancing slightly downward.
Adjust your display
Adjusting things like text size and color, and display brightness and color temperature can help minimize the effects of computer strain on your eyes.
- Text size
Adjust text size to three times larger than the smallest size you can see while sitting at a normal distance from your screen.
- Text color
Don’t experiment with fun color combinations. Black text on white background is generally the easiest on the eyes.
Your display should be the same brightness as your work environment. That means that if you’re working with natural light, your brightness needs to adjust to the changing lighting.
When light from a bright environment is reflecting off your screen, your eyes become more strained trying to focus through the glare. Install an anti-glare screen on your monitor or, if you wear glasses, consider getting an anti-reflective coating.
- Color temperature
If you have windows in the office, the rising and setting sun cause light fluctuations that can wreak havoc on your eyesight if you don’t adjust your color temperature. Use an app like f.lux to adjust your screen’s color temperature automatically throughout the day.
While working at the computer, a person typically blinks one-third less than usual. Decreased blinking and eye lubrication in the already dryer environment of most office spaces is a fast recipe for Dry Eyes. Try closing your eyes very slowly 10 times every 20 minutes to lubricate your eyes and prevent discomfort.
Dry eyes and eye strain can make even the best day feel like a challenge. Use the 20-20-20 rule to keep your day feeling bright, and your eyes feeling better. Every 20 minutes, look away from the computer screen at something 20 feet away, for 20 seconds. Don’t forget to blink.
Workday breaks are vital for keeping stress down and keeping your eyes healthier. American’s have a bad habit of only taking their allotted two 15-minute breaks over the course of 8 hours. A NIOSH study showed that workers who took several 5-minute throughout their day, in addition to their scheduled breaks, experienced less eye strain. So head over to the water cooler and hydrate yourself. Your body and your eyes will thank you.
Exercise your eyes
By the end of a long workday, your eyes are tired of hyper-focusing on a screen all day. This can result in blurred vision, dry eyes and discomfort. It can also cause your eyes to lock up in a condition that’s known as Accommodative Spasm. Try these exercises to keep your eyes feeling energized and fresh.
Get an eye exam
Okay, technically this has nothing to do with setting up your workspace. But the fact is that trying to improve the situation of eyes that are already feeling the results of years of computer work, or simply the results of age aren’t going to get you far without ensuring your eyes are at their healthiest. Schedule a visit with your eye care specialist to get your vision on the right track.
Your work environment doesn’t have to drain your vision. Follow the simple steps above to set your workspace up for your vision and your success.