With so many of us spending time in front of the computer and televisions every day it’s no surprise that research is showing a rise in visual problems. What can you do? First, it’s important to find out how you can protect your eyes through eye health exams and by making a few minor changes in your computer viewing habits.
The connection between computers and eye problems:
Being far or near-sighted, having astigmatism or wearing bifocals, trifocals or progressive lenses can all make computer use less comfortable and efficient. Depending on your condition, your eyes could exert extra focusing effort or be forced to work harder to maintain a clear image on the screen. The results are eye strain and fatigue.
Your Optometrist is your first line of defense in comfortable computing The first thing you need to do to ensure comfortable and efficient computer use is to visit your optometrist for a thorough and painless eye health exam. Your doctor of optometry needs to know:
- How many hours a day you use a computer or VDT
- The distance from your eyes to your screen
- The overall set up of your workstation and your main work tasks
- The type and location of lighting in your computer area
Helpful tips to take the sting out of computer use:
Positioning is everything:
- Correct positioning of your computer, keyboard and typing copy is essential. Your screen should be positioned about an arm’s length from your eyes and 20 degrees below eye level. Consider foot and wrist rests for added comfort.
Lighting can make all the difference:
- Room lighting should be diffuse, not direct, to reduce glare and reflections from your screen. Look into an internal or external glare screen and be sure to set your colour, contrast and brightness levels to suit you.
A little extra help for your glasses
- Anti-reflective coatings on the lenses of your glasses can be applied by your optometrist to reduce discomfort and to ease reduced vision from bright and/or flickering light sources such as VDTs and fluorescent lights. And don’t forget, your doctor of optometry can talk to you about eyeglasses designed specifically for people who use computers a lot.
Take time out, our 20-20-20 rule
- Taking a break from your work isn’t just a nice idea, it’s essential to the health and comfort of your eyes. Optometrists recommend the 20-20-20 rule… every 20 minutes take a 20 second break and focus your eyes on something at least 20 feet away (the coffee machine possibly!). This will give your eyes a much-needed break and reduce some of the symptoms mentioned earlier.
It’s all in the blinking
- Did you know that on average we blink 12 times per minute? But wait, did you know that when we’re on the computer we only blink 5 times per minute? That can add up to dry eyes. Relieve the discomfort by using artificial tear drops or gels and remember to blink!
Work or play, when it comes to computers think eye health!
- Remember, whether you’re watching television, working at a computer or playing at one, your eyes need you to take care of them. Visit an optometrist and keep your surfing time, or your working time, comfortable. Talk to an optometrist today, your eyes will thank you.