Computers and Eye Strain

Do you find yourself squinting more? Maybe you are having more difficulty driving at night? Do your eyes get irritated or drier than usual? It could be how you are looking at the computer. Our eyes were designed for hunting
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Do you find yourself squinting more? Maybe you are having more difficulty driving at night? Do your eyes get irritated or drier than usual? It could be how you are looking at the computer. Our eyes were designed for hunting or looking at long distances. Now with computers in schools, homes, laps and video games and iPods, more people are staring at smaller and smaller screens in wrong lighting and incorrect positions. You can relieve some of this strain yourself.

Position Screen
The computer or video screen should be slightly below eye level (about 20 degrees). Now with laptops, it is easy to place your computer on your lap which makes it way below eye level. Use a lap pillow or position yourself so the screen is no more than 30 degrees velow eye level.

Use Good lighting
Avoid working in rooms that are dark or too dim. Use an adjustable table lamp that can be aimed by you without causing screen reflections. Eliminate glare and screen reflections by moving or tilting the computer or getting an anti-glare screen. Try not to face toward windows or bright light source. Make sure the light in the room is about equal to the brightness of the display. Movie theaters are okay because the huge screen fills up the room with light.

Adjust Brightness
Viewing a dark screen is better than a bright, white screen. If you are staring at a white background, adjust the screen brightness and contrast so it is not as bright. Try searching with Blackle instead of Google. Search results are the same. You might want to clean your screen regularly since screens attract dust.

Take Breaks
If you spend hours starting at a computer or play video games, try to take a break every 20 minutes. Set a timer using an online stopwatch. Computer use results in a decrease in blinking to almost one third of normal. Stop occasionally and blink. Look away from the monitor at least 20 minutes but if you can it is even better to look away every 10 minutes.

Do Eye Exercises
Close your eyes tightly for 5 seconds and then open them. Repeat this 5 or 6 times every 10-20 minutes. This will relieve some of your strain. You can even use a warm washcloth lightly pressed to your eyes. Don’t rub your eyes too hard because it can break blood vessels. And like I wrote in the last paragraph, blink. During your break, focus on something far away for a minute or two.

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Consider Using Reading Glasses
Even if you have prescription glasses, your prescription may not work for the computer. Position yourself at least 15 inches away from the screen and try different readers. If you have to strain with or without your prescription glasses, you can try some fun readers that help you read small text and sit farther away from the screen.

Make Text Bigger
You can increase the text size on any web page. Some sites give you the option with A AA. If they don’t have that option, you can increase the size yourself by pressing Ctrl - + (add) once or more times depending on the size you want the text. To make it smaller, press Ctrl - - (subtract).

Resources
Cartoons on Eye Strain (copyrighted)
http://www.cartoonstock.com/directory/e/eye-strain.asp

How to relieve eye strain
http://www.visionworksusa.com/computereyestrain.htm

Home remedies for eye strain
http://www.nativeremedies.com/ailment/eye-strain-symptoms.html


Barbara Bray, barbara@my-ecoach.com
http://my-ecoach.com
Blog: http://barbarabray.my-ecoach.com

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