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Reducing Computer Eye Strain at Work and at Home

Computers can cause eye strain and dry eyes

If you spend all day working at a computer you may be familiar with the ergonomic problem known as eye strain. Eye strain is the most commonly experienced problem that computer users face worldwide. Understanding this condition better will help you to realize when you are experiencing eye strain and can often even help you to prevent or reduce it.

What are the symptoms of eye strain?
Eye strain is also known as computer vision syndrome or CVS. Its symptoms include visual fatigue, blurry vision, double vision, burning and watering eyes, headaches and frequent changes in eyesight and prescription. When you experience these symptoms you may be experiencing eye strain. Talk with your eye doctor to determine if you are suffering from this problem and learn about the solutions that are best for you.

Why do computers cause eye strain?
Computer screens can be very hard on the eyes. One reason that they cause eye strain is that they require the eye to constantly be focused and refocused. This is due to the way that computer screens display characters and images. Often those using a computer will look back and forth between their screen and other objects which causes the eye to have to refocus even more.

Another reason that computers can cause eye strain is that they reduce the average amount of times that the eye will blink each minute. In a regular setting the eye will naturally blink about 22 times each minute. However, when using the computer this is dramatically reduced to an average of 4 blinks per minute. When the eye blinks it restores moisture, so eyes that blink less frequently tend to be drier. This can lead to itching, burning, watering eyes, blurry vision and heavy eyelids.

Can eye strain cause permanent problems?
Right now there is no evidence that eye strain can cause permanent eye damage, but it can be extremely uncomfortable for those that are suffering from it. It can also reduce your job satisfaction and performance. Additionally eye strain reduces productivity and results in lost work time which can be very expensive for employers.

What can I do to reduce eye strain?
Understanding that eye strain is common is important since it can help you to focus on your eye health while using the computer. There are several different techniques that you can use to reduce or eliminate eye strain, even if regular computer work is necessary.

Don’t forget to blink
Since computer users blink less frequently than the natural eye, you can focus on regular blinking. This will restore your eye’s moisture and will help to offset the effects of eye strain.

Put moisture into the air
Dry air is harsher on the eyes than moist or humid air. You can increase the moisture of the air in your workspace by using a humidifier or by keeping plants nearby.

Focus on different objects
Exercising your eyes and changing your focus is a great exercise for reducing eye strain. Place one finger a few inches in front of the eye. Focus your eyes on your finger. Then move the finger away from your face and refocus. Bring your finger back to its position a few inches from the eye. Finally focus your vision on an object several feet in the distance. This exercise can easily be completed from your workspace. For best results repeat it at least 3 times.

Yawn regularly
Yawning isn’t just a sign that you are bored at work, it can actually be quite beneficial in restoring the moisture in your eyes. When you blink the eye produces tears which will provide necessary moisture to the eyes as well as lubrication.

Go outside
Natural light can help your eyes deal with eye strain. Expose your eyes to natural light as many times throughout the day as possible. This can be done by opening the blinds or by going on a walk outside.

Regularly replace your contacts
Make sure that you follow the replacement schedule that your doctor has set when replacing your contact lenses. You can also talk with your doctor about your eye strain and ask for help resolving this matter.

Eye strain doesn’t have to be a part of your work day. Learn these techniques and put them into practice for a more enjoyable and comfortable working environment.

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