Protect Your Eyes from Computer-Based Fatigue

tired woman

Given the fact that studying and completing coursework today generally requires using a computer, it’s inevitable that your eyes will experience fatigue. Burning, dry eyes, blurred vision, headaches, and neck aches are common symptoms of what is known as Computer Vision Syndrome. Protecting your eyes from this condition is good for your health and will positively affect your education over time.

Causes of Computer Vision Syndrome

Also known as Digital Eye Strain, this condition comes from staring at a computer screen for extended periods of time. Unlike reading a book, gazing at a computer screen makes the eyes work harder, because the screen produces glare caused by the monitor’s bright backlight. In addition, the letters on a computer screen are not as well defined as those on a printed page, so the eyes must focus and refocus more often. All of this causes additional strain on the eyes.

Fortunately, there are several easy methods of minimizing and even preventing Computer Vision Syndrome.

Follow the 20-20-20 Rule

The American Optometric Association suggests that every 20 minutes you take a 20-second break to look at something 20 feet away from you. This exercise will cause your eyes to refocus and will give them a mini rest.

Reposition Your Computer Screen

Reducing eye strain can be as simple as adjusting your screen. Most people experience less eye strain when they look down onto the screen. Position the screen so that the top of your monitor is at eye level, which will cause you to look down. The monitor should also be about 20 to 30 inches away from your eyes.

Reduce Screen Glare

Try using a screen glare filter, which decreases the amount of light reflected off of the monitor. A filter also adjusts the screen’s brightness and contrast to minimize glare and reflections.

Adjust Room Lighting

Additional glare from windows or overhead lighting can strain your eyes. Use blinds or drapes to minimize light coming in from outdoors. Rather than overhead lighting, use desk or floor lamps with low wattage bulbs. Place the lamps to the side of the computer—never in back of it or behind you. Experiment with lighting types to see which causes the least amount of eye strain for you.

Take Breaks

Resting your eyes periodically goes a long way toward reducing or preventing eye strain. Every two hours, rest your eyes for 15 minutes by getting up and doing something that doesn’t require intense focus and concentration.

Blink Frequently

Blinking lubricates the front of your eyes, which prevents them from drying out and becoming irritated and fatigued. Also position your computer away from heating and air-conditioning ducts, because blowing air can dry out your eyes.

Try Computer Glasses

Glasses designed for computer use and computer games are a good choice for heavy screen users. These glasses are tinted yellow, which offsets the harsher cool blue light coming from a computer screen.

Have Your Eyes Checked Regularly

If you have even minor vision problems, these can exacerbate computer-based eye fatigue. Have your vision checked regularly to make sure that your eyes are healthy, and correct any vision problems.

Computers are a necessary part of student life today. Prevent Computer Vision Syndrome with these tips, and you’ll have few – if any – problems with eye strain.


Written by Ashford University staff.

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