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How to Reduce Eye Strain When You're Staring at a Computer All Day

There are few jobs these days that don’t involve using a computer for a significant portion of the day. While this may make our jobs easier, quicker, and more accurate, it also has the side effect of causing a significant amount of eye strain.

Not only can digital eye strain cause eye fatigue, discomfort, dry eyes, headaches, and even blurred vision, but it can lead to long-term issues with degeneration of eye tissue and function. Here are some easy, actionable tips on how to reduce eye strain when you’re staring at a computer all day.

Work With Proper Lighting

The strain placed on your eyes can be exacerbated by working on a computer when there are brighter light sources in the immediate area. Examples of this include working near an open or unshaded window, with bright daylight or sun coming in.

This can also happen in offices where the ambient lighting has not been adjusted to compensate for the strain placed on the eyes. In general, your ambient lighting levels should only be about half as bright as traditional offices.

Other lighting issues can be caused by harsh fluorescent lighting, which although diffuse, is still irritating. Try working with soft white LED lights in floor lamps. If fluorescents are unavoidable, try to switch to full-spectrum bulbs.

Reduce Glare

Glare on your screen, such as from a window, light source, or light reflected off of nearby walls and other reflective surfaces, can cause a significant amount of eye strain. This can be mitigated to some extent by using an anti-glare screen over your display. Repainting walls with a matte or eggshell finish is also helpful in avoiding additional reflection.

Users that wear prescription glasses may be able to get a special lens coating. This anti-reflective coating helps to reduce glare by minimizing the amount of light that is reflected off of the lenses themselves, which can also contribute to eye strain.

Upgrade Your Monitor

If you are still using a CRT monitor, do your eyes a favor and upgrade to a newer flatscreen monitor like an LED or OLED. CRT monitors flash at a rate of about 60 times per second, which even though it is largely imperceptible to the eye, is a major cause of eye strain. Additionally, most newer displays are already designed to be anti-reflective.

Do a Display Setting Checkup

Open up your display settings and take a look at their values. In many cases simply tweaking these settings can have a dramatic effect on how your eyes feel after a day’s work.

First, take a look at your brightness, and adjust it so that it is about as bright as your surroundings. Your white screens should neither act as a light source nor should they be dull or nearly gray in appearance. Then check your text contrast, which is particularly important for those that do a lot of reading, and choose an easy-to-see high-contrast combination like black text on white background.

Finally, adjust your color temperature. Reducing the amount of blue light can significantly reduce eye strain as well as reduce the impact on REM sleep that can occur when looking at blue light in the evening. Reducing the color temperature will lower the blue light values.

Take Frequent Breaks

One of the main ways to give your eyes a chance to recuperate a little bit is to make sure you take frequent breaks. This should amount to about 10 minutes each hour that you spend looking at your monitor. Take these breaks as an opportunity to get up and walk around, do some stretches and eye exercises, and give those peepers a chance to look at something else and experience varying light levels.

Reducing Eye Strain When On A Computer All Day

Eye strain can be uncomfortable and even painful, but reducing it doesn’t have to be. With a few small changes here and there, you can have a much more comfortable computing experience.

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