Eyestrain has become one of the leading office-related health complaints. It’s estimated that 50-90% of computer users experience some degree of eyestrain or other symptoms of computer vision syndrome (CVS), during their work day. It can cause fatigue, decreased productivity and increase the number of errors made.
However, there are things that you and your employer can do to reduce these symptoms. Here are some proven tips for relieving computer eyestrain:
Schedule a computer eye exam
The most important thing you can do to help prevent vision problems related to computer use is to have an eye exam before you start working on a computer and once a year after that. Tell your eye doctor how often you use a computer at work and at home.
Use proper lighting
Excessively bright ambient lighting, either from outdoor sunlight coming through a window or from harsh interior lighting, is often the cause of computer eyestrain. Ambient light should be roughly half as bright as the lighting found in most offices.
If possible, fewer fluorescent tubes should be used in overhead light fixtures. Alternately, use lower intensity bulbs. If you can, position your monitor so that windows are to one side of it instead of in the front or back. Window blinds can be adjusted to reduce the amount of sun reaching your desk.
Another cause of computer eyestrain is the glare on walls and other finished surfaces, as well as reflections on the computer screen. Anti-glare screens are available for computer monitors and, bright white walls should be painted a darker color with a matte finish.
Cover the window or, when outside light can’t be reduced, consider using a computer hood.
If you wear eyeglasses, you can have an anti-reflective coating applied to your lenses. This will reduce glare by minimizing the amount of light reflecting off the surfaces of your lenses.
Upgrade your monitor
Replace your old tube-style monitor with a flat-panel liquid crystal display, if you haven’t already done so. LCD screens are easier on the eyes and generally have an anti-reflective surface, whereas old-fashioned screens can cause a flicker of images that, even if imperceptible, can contribute to eyestrain and fatigue.
Alternately, you can decrease the flicker on an old-style screen by increasing the refresh rate of your screen to 75 hertz or higher. Access this setting in the control panel of your computer.
Adjust computer screen brightness and contrast
Adjusting the display settings on your computer so the brightness of the screen is about the same as your work environment will make for more comfortable viewing.
Make sure that the contrast between the screen background and the on-screen characters is high and that the text size and color are optimized for your personal comfort. As a rule, black text on a white background is the best color combination but other, high contrast, dark-on-light combinations may also be acceptable.