For many people, work involves spending a lot of time staring at a computer screen. As a result, people who use computers for prolonged periods often experience symptoms of eye strain — feelings of dryness and itchiness in the eyes, blurry or double vision, or headaches.
Eye drops may provide temporary relief, but longer lasting relief may require a bit more behavior modification. First of all, don’t forget to blink. People naturally blink about eighteen times per minute, but it’s easy to forget to blink when you’re looking intently at your screen.
The angle of your monitor is also important. The top of the screen should be in line with your eyes so that you are looking at a slightly downward angle at the screen, the same way you would read a book or magazine. The monitor should also be positioned so that there isn’t glare from other lights in the room. And while you may be interested in what you’re reading on the screen, don’t lean in too close. Your eyes should be between 20-40 inches back from the screen.
A good rule of thumb is to take a break every twenty minutes. If you can, take a second to talk to a colleague, look through some actual paperwork, get a drink of water, or go to the restroom. Even if you can’t get up and away from your desk, look at something farther away. Just a few seconds of forcing your eyes to adjust can help to prevent eye strain.
And of course, if you’re experiencing eye pain or irritation that persists, contact an eye doctor. If you experience a sudden loss of vision in one eye, a severe headache, or other symptoms that could be indicative of a stroke, get emergency medical attention.