Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Ways to Protect Your Vision at the Computer

March is Save Your Vision Month, and, as someone with much less than perfect vision, I decided to investigate suggestions for improving vision health. The American Optometric Association has a nice informational piece that is probably relevant to all of us - "Healthy Vision at the Computer".

I had never heard of "computer vision syndrome" before, and did not realize all of the different types of tasks that we ask our eyes to perform simply by using the computer! In short, staring at the computer screen for hours on end can cause our eyes to almost continuously move and focus in a variety of differing ways. Further impacting this activity are things such as: 
  • screen settings such as resolution and contrast, and image refresh rates
  • screen glare problems
  • the distance from and angle of the screen
The article includes some good information on ergonomic settings for the work area, such as angles and distance measurements for keyboard and screen positioning. In addition, the article explains that repetitive and stressful tasks can be very challenging. I think this is something that we have become more conscious of with other parts of our bodies, since we know more about ergonomics today than we used to, but I know that this is something that I do not consider frequently enough in relation to my eyes.

Several tips are also included in the article about how to stay healthy and comfortable in front of the computer. Foremost was to have regular eye exams.  In addition, it was suggested to rest the eyes, blink them forcefully, and use a humidifier and artificial tears as needed to help keep them moist.

The article did state something that I recently found to be true for myself: often our regular eyeglass prescriptions are not enough when it comes to computer work. At my last checkup, I talked to my doctor about feeling tired after looking at the computer screen all day. He recommended a very minimal prescription for reading glasses - similar to what trifocals might help correct - and it has made all of the difference in my daily life! So, if you are experiencing problems with your eyes after looking at the computer for a long period of time, I highly recommend that you discuss this with your eye care provider. It's quite possible that they can provide you with assistance that will make your daily life more pleasant!

Do you have any tips for better eye health to share?

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