5 Ways to Relieve Eye Strain at Work

October 19, 2016

In today’s digital age, many people struggle from digital fatigue on a daily basis. This can lead to headaches, and in some cases ocular migraines. However, a lot of the strain that is experienced on a daily basis can be prevented. Here are some tips you can implement in your workspace or routine to minimize the strain on your eyes.

1. Change your lighting

Eye strain is often caused by harsh lighting conditions, either from overhead lights or sunlight coming in through a window. The ideal lighting level should be about half of what is found in most offices. If you have windows, install curtains or blinds to soften the light coming in. For internal lights, use lower intensity bulbs or tubes.

2. Minimize glare

Clean your monitor screen regularly to remove dust. Curtains and blinds may also be helpful in reducing the amount of light available to glare off your screen. If you wear glasses, consider lenses with an Anti-Reflective Coating, as glasses can increase the glare you see. You may also consider installing an anti-glare screen.

3. Focus away

Another cause of fatigue can come from focusing on objects close to you for too long. To reduce this risk, focus on a faraway object (at least 20 feet away) every 20 minutes for at least 20 seconds. This is referred to as the 20-20-20 rule. This exercise reduces the risk of your eyes’ focusing ability to “lock up” (a condition called accommodative spasm) after prolonged computer work.

4. Give your eyes a break

Taking breaks not only rests your eyes, it can prevent neck, back, and shoulder pain. Many people either sit at their computer all day without a break, or only take two 15 minute breaks or one 30 minute lunch break. According to a recent NIOSH study, discomfort and eye strain were significantly reduced when computer workers took four additional five-minute “mini-breaks” throughout their work day.

5. Get a comprehensive eye exam

Routine eye exams are the most important thing you can do to prevent or treat computer related eye problems. If you haven’t had an eye exam in over a year, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor. During your exam, be sure to tell your doctor how much time you spend a day on the computer, both at an outside of work. The doctor may want to measure your eyes a specific working distance from the computer, so pay attention to how close you normally sit.

If you spend more than 2 hours a day on a computer, these relief tips may offer some help. Your eyes are strong, but they can get tired just like any other muscle in your body. Be sure to take care of them so they’ll be able to help you do your job from years to come.

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