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Computer Eye Strain

Posted Feb 08 2011 6:37am

If your work requires you to stare at a computer monitor for long periods of time, watch out for eye strain. There are cases when an underlying problem, such as uncorrected vision or muscle imbalance, can worsen the condition.

Aside from using the computer monitor, there are other causes of eye strain. These include straining to see in dim light, exposure to bright lights, driving for long periods, and reading.

Eyestrain can be very annoying, but it usually goes away on its own once a person has rested his eye muscle. But remember, it is important to take note that reducing eyestrain is a requirement to maintain a healthy vision. It is essential to identify the symptoms of eye strain. Common symptoms to watch out for are burning or itching eyes, dry eyes, watery eyes, double vision, sore neck, headache, or increased eye sensitivity. 
Computer eye strain causes additional problems because a person will suffer from difficulty in shifting his eye from the monitor to paper documents. In addition, there will be afterimages when you shift your gaze away from the monitor.
Blink your eyes. Nature has given human eyes their personal masseur, the eyelids. Consciously blinking the eyes instead of squinting will cleanse and give them the required massage.
Use glasses. If you have problems seeing but avoid using glasses due to vanity, you are bound to suffer from eyestrain. If your distance vision is good but cannot read up close then it is highly advisable for you to get a good pair of reading glasses to avoid eyestrain. If your distance vision is bad, use of glasses for relieving eye strain is highly recommended.
Preventing eye strain should also include changes in your working habits. Modify your work station by using proper lighting and minimizing glare and other distracting reflections. Adjust the brightness and contrast of your computer screen.
Position your monitor directly in front of you about 20 to 28 inches from your eyes. Many people find that putting the screen at arm’s length is about right. If you need to get close to read small type, consider increasing the font size. Keep the top of your screen at eye level or below so that you look down slightly at your work.
And if you wear bifocals, you may have a tendency to tilt your head backward so that you can see through the lower portion of your glasses. To adjust for this, consider lowering your monitor a few inches or buying glasses designed for computer work.
Keep your monitor clean. Wipe the dust from your computer screen regularly. Dust on the screen cuts down on contrast and may contribute to glare and reflection problems.
Position your keyboard properly. Place your keyboard directly in front of your monitor. If you place it at an angle or to the side, your eyes have to focus at different distances from the screen, a tiring activity.
Keep reference materials nearby. Place reading and reference material on a document holder beside your monitor and at the same level, angle and distance from your eyes as the monitor is from your eyes. This way your eyes are not constantly readjusting.
Eye experts suggest to take frequent breaks and do eye exercise regularly to help your eyes focus in different directions. Eye exercises also strengthen the eye muscles and stimulate the vision center of the brain.
Once every hour take some time away from your computer to rest your eyes. Roll them around, roll them left to right. Then shut them for five minutes and relax. Sometimes, relaxing your eyes is better than exercising your eyes, especially after a long day at a computer, or a long day reading or driving.
If rest and home remedies are unable to relieve the eyestrain, it might be necessary to see the doctor. This is especially true if there is a noticeable change in vision, double vision, and chronic eye discomfort. Eye exercises will no longer help patients who have certain eye conditions.
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