Eye strain is a common problem. It can come from working on a computer, watching TV, driving, or any number of other activities which rely on the use of our eyes. When we don’t give them a break, our eyes can become fatigued and lose focus. People tend to blink less frequently when working at a computer—about one-third as often as they usually do. Severe eye strain can cause other problems like short-term head and neck aches. The strain can also come from using tablets and smartphones.
If you spend a good part of your day using the computer, following the 20-20-20 rule might help you relax your tired eyes. The 20-20-20 rule suggests that after every 20 minutes of working at the computer, users should take a break for at least 20 seconds and focus on objects 20 feet away.
Also, evaluate users’ computer workstations for proper ergonomics, such as the screen’s distance from the eyes. Some sources suggest proper monitor distance should be 16-24 inches away, which isn’t necessarily correct. The best distance is as far away as possible while still being able to view text clearly, usually 20 to 40 inches or more than an arm’s length. Longer distances relax the eyes. Other methods to decrease eye strain:
- Minimize glare
- Adjust display settings – color, contrast, and brightness to levels that are most comfortable for the user
- Adjust text size in the app or computer settings
- Consider purchasing an extra pair of eyeglasses designed specifically for computer use
- Tape a note on the computer monitor with a reminder to blink more often
- More tips can be found in the RS Safety Library – Ergonomics section.
Rick Means is available to members to help draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings. Contact him at 360-943-9198 x118, or [email protected]