Spending hours, days, and weeks in front of the computer can take its toll on your eyes, causing eye strain, fatigue, dryness and discomfort. Severe fluorescent lights and overly bright windows can combine with computer screen lights to create a harsh environment for your eyes. Over time, your eyes may become tired and dry out faster as the day progresses. Before long, you could be suffering daily from computer vision syndrome (CVS).
Symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome:
- Itchy eyes
- Dry eyes
- Tired eyes
- Neck strain
- Blurred vision
- Red eyes
But what can you do? You have to be able to work on your laptop or PC. At Colorado Ophthalmology, our team of eye doctors has put together some tips to help you prevent or relieve computer-related eyestrain.
1. See your eye doctor
Regular visits to your ophthalmologist will ensure your eyes are healthy and not changing. Discuss any eye fatigue, pain, or dry eye symptoms you have been experiencing. Make sure you tell your doctor how many hours a day you spend on the computer as well as how close you sit to the screen.
If you wear glasses, your doctor can prescribe special anti-reflective coating (AR) to cut down on light glare from computer work. If you don’t wear glasses, there are clear AR glasses that can be easily purchased online or in stores. These can help cut down on the glare from your computer.
2. Adjust your lighting
The best lighting to use when working on a computer is an adjustable desk lamp. If there is a window nearby, it is best to turn your computer so the light comes in from the side. Bright window lighting behind or in front of your computer can encourage eyestrain, so either turn away from it or add heavy curtains.
Also, check to make sure your computer or laptop has the newer LED screen rather than the older CRT screen that has a slight flicker and can cause eye fatigue. If you are still using the old CRT screen, consider an upgrade to a flat screen LED. Additionally, anti-glare screen protectors can be purchased to fix over the top of computer screens.
Another option to cut down on glare is to trade your bright, light colored walls for a darker color painted in a matte finish. Repainting your office walls may go a long way in easing your eye pain.
3. Take eye breaks
To give your eyes a break, remember the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes look at something farther away—like 20 feet—for 20 seconds. Also, take a break every hour and walk around, look outside, and give your eyes a chance to rest.
4. Drops, drinks and blinks for dry eyes
If you suffer from dry eyes, you’re not alone. Millions of Americans have chronic dry eyes. And age may be a factor. According to studies, 3.2 million women aged 50 and over1 and 1.68 million men aged 50 and over2 suffer from dry eyes.
There are several good brands of dry eye lubricant drops available over the counter. You may need to try a few before deciding which one works best for you.
Staying hydrated is another important consideration. If you are dehydrated, your eyes will be as well. Keep a big glass of water or a cold bottle of water on your desk and keep it refilled all day.
Studies have shown that staring at the computer screen can significantly cut down on the amount of blinking you do. When you blink less, your eyes don’t get the coatings of tears as they normally would. Combine this with a dry environment and a fan and your eyes can dry out quickly. Try to blink more frequently. Also, use a humidifier for the room and point fans away from you to create a better environment for your eyes.
If you continue to have trouble with dry eyes, you need to see your ophthalmologist. Some eye conditions can cause dry, irritated eyes and your doctor will need to rule those out. You can also get a prescription for lubricant drops from your doctor.
5. Adjust your computer
Your computer screen should be slightly higher than eye level when you are sitting straight. Ideally, it should be about two feet from your face.
The brightness setting of your screen should be about the same as the room. If it is too bright, it may be casting light into the room. If it is too dark, the room is brighter than the screen. This setting may need to be tweaked as the daylight changes.
The text size should be a comfortable size so you don’t have to squint to read it. Reading color print for too long can be fatiguing, so choose black on a white background whenever possible.
The color settings of your computer can also be changed. The more blue that you have in the settings, the more eyestrain. The more reds and oranges in your screen color, the less eye fatigue.
Get your baseline eye exam done today!
If you haven’t been to the eye doctor in a while, it is time for a high quality baseline exam. We can bring you a comprehensive exam to make sure your eyes are healthy and can then watch for any changes from year to year. Our two convenient locations ensure that you can have fast access to an experienced ophthalmologist. Call us at the location closest to home: