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Easy ways to protect eyes while working

SAN DIEGO COUNTY – For many of the nation’s office workers, keeping eyes healthy and going strong is a legitimate concern. Hours spent in front of a computer monitor is not the ideal situation for a person’s eyes, yet many people are at a loss as to how to protect their eyes while still getting their work done.

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), two hours of computer use per day is all it takes to develop what is now referred to as Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS). CVS can include symptoms such as itchy or fatigued eyes and eyes that grow sensitive to light after prolonged computer use. There are ways workers can minimize their risk of CVS while still getting their work done.

Beware of light reflections. Glare and shadows can negatively impact one’s vision when sitting at the computer. When working at a desk, one should avoid facing an unshaded window or having an unshaded window directly behind one’s chair. If the layout of the office insists on either arrangement, use curtains, shades or blinds. To reduce reflections, position the desk and computer so the window is off to the side of the computer.

Consult an eye doctor. A big contributor to vision problems resulting from working at a computer is often the atypical distance the computer screen is from the eyes. The text on a computer screen is often farther away than the text might be when one is reading a book, but closer than the text on street signs when one is driving.

This intermediate distance can lead to problems with focus. For those who wear glasses, either full-time or just to drive or read, this can be a big problem. They might want to consult their eye doctor to see if a separate prescription tailored to computer use might be appropriate.

It might be the computer. Chances are the position of one’s computer monitor is playing a role in how well or how bad his or her eyes are feeling. Ideally, the monitor should be in a position where the user is looking just over the top of the monitor when staring straight ahead.

Computer users can also keep the monitor at a slight upward angle as well, so their eyes are looking slightly downward when reading. Eyes focus more accurately when looking slightly downward, so this small adjustment can actually make a big impact on their eyes.

Keep eye drops nearby. Blinking helps eyes remain moist. When using a computer a person doesn’t blink nearly as much as he normally does, often resulting in dry and irritated eyes. While it can be hard to make a conscious effort to blink more, one can also keep eye drops nearby to ensure his eyes avoid drying out over the course of a typical work day.

Give the eyes a break. Much like one’s legs might need to take breaks from sitting at a desk and be stretched out during the day, one’s eyes need to take breaks as well. Something as simple as focusing on an object that’s farther away from one’s computer screen for 30 to 60 seconds can be enough of a break for one’s eyes. Keeping eyes focused on the same spot for too long can cause muscle strain and fatigue, so one’s eyes should be given a break several times over the course of a day.


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