According to the American Optometric Association, more than half of all office workers who use computers regularly suffer eye strain. Interestingly, this problem is not due to computer use alone; the lighting that surrounds us at home and at work can actually harm our eyes.
Many parents warn their kids to turn on a light while reading and that reading with dim lights could make eyesight worse. Although reading in the dark doesn’t do damage to our eyesight, it can lead to eye strain and headaches. Indeed, eye strain is what many office workers complain of when they sit for long hours at a computer.
Performing any task that requires the eyes to focus in poor lighting might result in symptoms of eye strain. These symptoms may include sore neck, shoulders or back; sore, burning or tired eyes; blurred or double vision; watery or dry eyes and an increase in light sensitivity or headaches.
Luckily, minor changes both at home and at the office or school can make big differences in our reading ability, eye comfort, and even how we perceive colors.
At School and Work
Lighting: Unfortunately, many office spaces have harsh lighting such as fluorescent tubes that can contribute to eye strain. When possible, it helps to reduce the use of fluorescent lights and other harsh lighting. Lamps may be helpful in providing more controllable ambient light.
Screen light: Of course, the computer is a bit of a culprit when it comes to eye strain. Adjusting your monitor’s brightness to reduce a computer’s blue light so that it is approximately the same as the rest of your surroundings can help.
Glare: If you are seated near a window, glare on your computer screen may be contributing to strain. It may help to close blinds to a window, move your work station, or get special eyewear designed to reduce glare.
Lighting: Task lighting can be a big help at home when it comes to adjusting lighting for eye comfort. When doing focused work at home utilize reading lamps and desk lamps whenever possible.
Screen light: As we increasingly are on our screens at work and at home, it’s important to limit their use, particularly in the evenings. There are some types of software (many of them free!) that can be installed on computers to automatically adjust a screen’s brightness with the natural light of day.
One of the best ways we can protect our eyesight and eye health is through prevention. When doing any type of computer work or focused work, be sure to take breaks often: every ten to twenty minutes you’re on a computer, be sure to look away at a distance for several seconds; every hour or two, be sure to step away for a few minutes.
If you are experiencing eye strain, contact us today to discuss ways we can help you find relief.