Quick Survey: Eyestrain And Computers
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Eyestrain And Computers

My eyes are sore, burning, and watery and my job requires me to work six hours a day at the computer. What can I do?

You are suffering from eyestrain, and this condition has many different causes. Eyestrain means sore, burning, dry, itchy, tender, watery, or irritated eyes. It can also mean the sensation of heavy or twitching eyelids or pulling or drawing of the eye muscles. Other common eye problems of computer users include difficulty focusing, double vision, blurred vision and seeing coloured fringes or a pink after image.

To find the cause of the eyestrain, you have to consider computer screen design, office lighting, and work regimens. You should also get your eyes checked by your optometrist or eye doctor.

It is crucial to have a screen that is clear and easy to read, with proper lighting and absence of glare. Windows should be at right angles to the screen, lighting should be recessed and not direct, and all surfaces around the computer should be free of glare.

Dr. Helen Feeley, an Ottawa optometrist, says glare and uncorrected vision problems are the two main causes of computer related eyestrain. Dr. Feeley has written an excellent trouble shooting manual entitled, The VDT Operator's Problem Solver . (available from The Planetary Association for Clean Energy , 100 Bronson Avenue #10001, Ottawa, Ontario, K1R 6G8. 613-236-6265).

Intensive computer work should be limited to 50 percent of the work day. Computer work should be interspersed with other types of work.

To protect your eyesight, some suggest that yellowish green letters on a darker green background are easier on the eye. Others find white on black helpful for long periods of work.

In addition, you should schedule breaks for ten minutes for every hour of visually demanding work (columns, figures, rapid entry of data) and 15 minutes minimum for every two hours of less demanding work.

During breaks, is important to focus into the distance. Look at your hand and then at a distant object, back and forth 15 times. You can also rest your eyes by rubbing your palms together vigorously and cupping them over your eyes, while visualizing a peaceful scene in nature or just pitch blackness. This should be done for two or three minutes several times throughout the day, and is very restful for the eyes. Remember to blink often during breaks. And finally, practice moving your eyes through their whole range of movement five to ten times a day.

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