How to prevent tired eyes at the computer

October 22, 2014

Eye strain often occurs after prolonged periods on your computer. Here's why this strain occurs and what steps you can take to prevent tired eyes at the computer.

How to prevent tired eyes at the computer

Why are tired eyes linked to computer use?

Research reveals that people tend to blink less when using a computer. On average, people blink around 18 times a minute. However, they only blink around half as much when using a computer, which can cause a wide range of uncomfortable symptoms, including:

  • Sore eyes
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Dry eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Blurred vision

If you think you may be suffering from eye strain, the extent to which you experience these symptoms will depend on the health of your eyes and the length of time you've spent looking at your computer.

How can I prevent eye strain?

Eye strain can be uncomfortable, but it will usually resolve itself when you step away from your computer and give your eyes a well-earned break. If you are unable to reduce the amount of time you spend at your computer, take these steps to reduce your risk of tired eyes:

  • Position your computer screen 50 to 60 cm away from your eyes, ensuring that it is 10 to 15 degrees below your eye level.
  • Adjust your computer display's brightness, text size and contrast for more comfortable viewing.
  • Reduce external light by closing curtains and/or adjusting blinds.
  • Wear eyeglasses or contact lenses, if you need them.
  • If you wear eyeglasses, ask your optician to provide you with anti-reflection lenses, which reduce glare.
  • Schedule frequent short rest breaks from computer use so that you do not spend all day in front of a screen.
  • Avoid staring at the screen. Look away every few minutes and focus your eyes on distant objects.
  • Schedule regular eye examinations so that your optometrist can check the health of your eyes and provide you with expert advice on avoiding eye strain.

Eye strain is a common condition, affecting around 50 to 90 per cent of regular computer users. However, it can sometimes be a sign of an underlying medical condition.

If your eye strain does not resolve itself, despite taking simple precautions, a trip to your optometrist may be in order. This is especially important if you also have headaches and/or have noticed a significant change in your vision.

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