Workplace hazards are a part of life for people in various professions. Office workers might not consider themselves vulnerable to injury when they’re at work, but individuals who spent much of their day staring at a computer screen are at risk of developing computer eye strain.
According to The Vision Council, nearly 60 percent of individuals who routinely use computers and digital devices experience symptoms of computer eye strain. The health care experts at Cedars Sinai note that computer eye strain symptoms can include dry eyes, headache, blurred vision, and eye twitching. Despite the prevalence of computer eye strain, office workers and others who spend long periods of time at their computers can take steps to reduce their risk.
• Redo your work environment. Cedars Sinai recommends individuals concerned about computer eye strain create a better work environment to reduce their risk. The online vision health and wellness resource All About Vision notes that eye strain is often a byproduct of excessively bright light. That light could be natural light coming in through a window or from interior lighting that is harsh on the eyes. If exterior light is making your office excessively bright, close drapes, shades or blinds to keep that light out. Excessively bright lighting fixtures can be remedied by using fewer light bulbs or fluorescent tubes or replacing existing bulbs with lower intensity alternatives. All About Vision also notes that some individuals find floor lamps that employ soft white light from LED bulbs are less taxing on their eyes than overhead fluorescent lighting.
• Schedule vision checkups. Cedars Sinai notes that uncorrected vision problems are a major cause of computer eye strain. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends individuals get a complete eye exam once in their 20s, twice in their 30s and then again when they turn 40. A comprehensive eye exam at 40 is necessary because the AAO notes that this is when early signs of disease or changes in vision may appear. Diseases or changes can contribute to computer eye strain, among other issues. After conducting a comprehensive eye exam, ophthalmologists will then tell patients how often they should have their vision tested, and individuals should heed this advice and keep appointments.
• Upgrade your tech. All About Vision notes that flat-panel LED screens with anti-reflective surfaces are preferable to computer screens with cathode ray tubes, which can cause an imperceptible flicker of images that contributes to computer eye strain. A large display screen, whether it’s a desktop computer or a monitor connected to a laptop, also can reduce risk for computer eye strain.
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