Learn tips to help you when combating computer eye strain.
Combating Computer Eye Strain
Those of us who spend hours a day in front of a
computer know that staring at the screen for extended periods of
time can lead to eyestrain. While we may not be able to change our
work venue or lessen the hours we spend at the computer, we can
learn to take better care of our eyes.
Reprogram your “Blink Rate”
The image on the computer screen is not a stable one. Rather
than a solid black-and-white image, the computer picture is
composed of pixels that appear as miniscule dots, flickering at
high rates of speed. Our brains try to make sense of this by
constantly telling our eyes to refocus.
Because the brain is on alert trying to pick up these signals,
we blink less. Normal blink rate is around twenty times a minute,
but at the computer, we blink only about half as much as we should.
To reprogram your blink rate, consciously blink several times the
next time you restart your computer. Try doing this exercise each
and every time you boot up your computer. Or better yet, type a
reminder into your screen saver.
Consider Computer Glasses
Another source of stress for our eyes is the physical distance
we sit from our computer screens. While normal reading distance is
14 to 16 inches, our monitors typically sit 26 to 28 inches away.
While it may not be possible to move your screen closer, computer
glasses may alleviate the problem. Designed for the specific work
distance between your eyes and your screen, computer glasses should
be used for the specific purpose of computer work and then left at
And if you typically wear bifocals, your eyes may be under
additional stress, since you tend to raise your head and lean in
toward the screen. Invisible bifocals (the ones that don’t show any
line between top and bottom half of the lens) may be a better
Take a Break to Rest your Eyes
Difficult as it may be—considering there’s e-mail to be checked
and reports to be written—taking a breather from the computer will
ultimately ease eyestrain. Make it a point, every fifteen minutes,
to look up and away from your screen. Gaze as far as you can into
the distance. If you’ve got a window, look at the horizon. If all
you’ve got is a wall in front of you, look at that for a minute or
Here are few more helpful hints for those experiencing computer
• Larger print is always better than smaller print.
• Black text on a yellow or rosy background tends to be more
• Consider purchasing a laptop; it’s easier on the eyes because it
comes closer to the standard reading position.
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