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Computer Eyestrain

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As more and more people spend most of their working hours in front of a computer, the occurrence of eyestrain is on the rise. Millions of people in the world use computers and the numbers are doubling every year.{{more}}

Eyestrain can have devastating consequences on a person’s lifestyle.

Examples are: dry and irritated eyes, headaches, focusing difficulties, blurred vision, tiredness, backaches, shoulder aches just to mention a few.

Here are a few tips to combat computer related eye strain.

1. Check the lighting around your computer. Improper lighting can affect the eyes and cause strain. Glare from a window or a lamp that has been placed wrongly can cause eye strain. If you can see the reflection on your computer screen then you are most likely putting yourself in harms way. Overhead fluorescent lights are not advisable, because they flicker at a high rate causing the eyes to become tired. A floor or table lamp with a full spectrum lightbulb is advised.

2. Take short breaks: use the 20-20 rule. For every 20 minutes, look 20 feet away for 20 seconds or for every hour look 20 feet away for 1 minute. You can also get up and walk around.

3. Use computer eye glasses: computer eye glasses are special prescription glasses that decrease strain on the eye by narrowing the focus of your eyes to the mid and near ranges. They come with special antireflective coatings and may have a mild tint.

4. Increase the size of the fonts on your computer. If you are using a PC, hold down the control key while moving the scroll wheel of your mouse. With a Mac hold down the command key and the + key

Also use the zoom feature on your computer. You can find this in the view menu on a PC. You can zoom the entire screen on a Mac. There are downloadable programs that can increase the text size.

You can also use the full screen mode in microsoft office to work.

5. Watch how you sit as this may cause shoulder and backaches. Use Ergonomic chairs that give good back support.Also adjust the height of the desk or chair so that the middle of the computer screen is about 20 degrees below eye level. The screen should be at a distance of 16-30 inches from the eyes

6. Blink frequently: Usually we blink at a rate of 15 times/min, but when working on a computer, our blink rate is reduced to 5 times /min because we continuously stare at the screen. When blinking is reduced, the eyes may become dry and irritated

7. Also avoid sitting in front of an air vent or air conditioner or facing its draft while working. This drys out the eyes. Using lubricating eye drops can help reduce dryness. Pay special attention to this if you use contact lenses.

When all is said and done, paying attention to these tips can make all the difference. Do not hesitate to ask your eye care practitioner for more tips to prevent eye strain.

Take care of your eyes and happy computing!

Dr Kenneth Onu is a resident Consultant Ophthalmologist at the Beachmont Eye Institute/Eyes R Us Send questions to: [email protected]

Tel: 784 456-1210

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