Many of us spend 40 hours a week or more staring at a computer screen. Over the course of the year, that is nearly three months we spend looking at a monitor. While the screen time is necessary for most of us at work, that amount of time can take a serious toll on your eyes.
Many people are affected by Computer Vision Syndrome, which is a direct result of spending too much time in front of a computer screen. Studies show that as many as 90% of office workers suffer from some sort of Computer Vision Syndrome related side effect. These side effects include eye irritation, redness, strain, dryness and even headaches and shoulder pain. While we can’t avoid the computer screen all together, there are ways to make it a little easier on the eyes. Try these tips to avoid eye damage from too much screen time.
Blink: It seems so simple, but many people zone out while working and will stare at a computer screen for an extended period of time without blinking. This can cause eyes to dry out and start to feel irritated. While it is easy to get consumed in your work, remember to blink every once and a while. It will make your eyes feel much better.
Bigger font: The smaller a font is on your screen, the more likely you are to squint to read it and crane your neck closer to the monitor to get a better look. This could lead to headaches and fatigue, and possibly even neck pain. A bigger font will make things easier to read so you will be able to sit back in proper posture and read the text from a more comfortable distance. You may also want to adjust the color contrast to make the text more readable as well.
Break: It is ok to get up from your desk every once and a while – the work will still be there when you get back. Many experts suggest following a 20-20-20 rule. That is, for every 20 minutes of work, take a 20 second break to look at something 20 feet away. This helps work out your eye muscles so that when you finally leave work at the end of the day, you won’t experience fuzziness related to staring at the same object for hours.
Move your monitor: The positioning of your monitor has a huge effect on the strain your eyes feel. You want to have your monitor positioned so that the screen is about five inches below eye level and roughly 35-40 inches away from your face. Not only does this help prevent strain on your eyes but it also will reduce strain on your neck and back.
Spending hours in front of a computer is unavoidable. But we don’t have to hurt our eyes for the sake of work. Take the proper steps to optimize your work station and your eyes will be healthier in the long run.