“These days pretty much everyone is staring at a computer screen, phone or other digital devices; and it’s causing a problem known as digital eye strain. Research carried out by The Vision council has shown that 59% of people who routinely use computers experience eye strain symptoms. There are many different symptoms of digital eye strain, including sore eyes, blurred vision, headache and sore neck. Here are a few simple steps which you can take at work to reduce the risk of eye strain.
Use proper lighting
Eye strain has been proven to be caused by the excessive bright light from harsh interior lighting, often from your digital devices. When using a computer, your ambient light should be about half as bright as that typically found in most offices. Many users feel that their eyes are less strained if they can avoid working under overhead fluorescent lights. If possible, turn off these lights and instead use floor lamps that have soft white LED lighting which does not directly hit your monitor screen.
Upgrade your display
Replace your old monitor with a flat panel LED screen with an anti-reflective surface. Old fashioned screens can cause noticeable ‘flickering’ images, which is a major cause of computer eye strain. When you move on to buying a new monitor screen, select one with a large display. For example, if you are in need of a desktop computer select a display that has a diagonal screen size of roughly 19 inches.
Simply altering the display settings on your monitor can greatly reduce the symptoms of eye strain at work. Here are some adjustments which have been proven to be generally beneficial:
Brightness – Ensure that you have set the brightness to roughly match the same brightness of your surroundings. However, if your screen appears grey-ish, this is a likely sign that it is too dark.
Tone – The tone of the screen (referred to as colour temperature) is used to describe the spectrum of visible light emitted by a colour display. Blue light is a light associated with eye strain and is known as a short-wavelength visible light. However, orange and red are better for the eyes due to their long-wavelength properties. When adjusting the colour temperature of your screen, always aim to make your screen a slightly more orange/red hue for better long term viewing comfort.
Text size – Adjust the text size and contrast for comfort especially when reading or typing documents.
This may sound slightly ridiculous, but blinking is very important when it comes to working at a computer all day. Blinking lubricates your eyes to prevent dryness and irritation, therefore it can be very important. When staring at a screen, you will find that you blink less frequently, which in the long term can be damaging. If you experience dry eyes, ask your optician about artificial tear drops to use throughout the day.
Glare reflected from light coloured walls and reflections onto your computer screen can cause eye strain. Consider getting an anti-glare screen, and is a less drastic measure than painting your walls a darker colour. You can reduce external light by covering windows or closing the blinds. If you wear glasses, consider using lenses with an anti-reflective coating. This will reduce glare and therefore reduce symptoms of eye strain. Even if you don’t wear prescription glasses, you can purchase anti-glare or VDU (visual display unit) lenses with no prescription but all the benefits of the anti-glare coating.
By: Richard Edwards
Published: 25th February 2020