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9 Sure Ways to Protect Your Eyes during Computer Use

Most jobs nowadays involve some degree of computer usage, meaning almost everyone will be spending time in front of a computer. Unfortunately, this can result in eye strain or injury. In order to avoid this, you’ll have to properly protect your eyes both in front of and away from the computer.
  1. 1
    Sit far enough away from the screen. This is usually considered at least an arm’s length away from the screen. To make sure your computer is positioned right, try the high-five test: if you can’t properly high-five your computer screen with a full arm extension, you’re sitting too close.
  2. Protect Your Eyes when Using a Computer Step 6
    Locate the computer screen 4 or 5 inches below your eye level. Ideally, you should look down at the computer screen at about a 15 to 20 degree angle. This ensures that more of
    your eyeball is covered by your eyelid, keeping your eyes moisturized and healthy.[2]
  3. 3
    Locate reference material properly. If you’re using any books or papers while working, you can strain your eyes if you don’t locate them properly. If they’re too low, your eyes will have to refocus every time you glance at them, leading to eye fatigue. You can also strain your neck by moving it to look down too often. Reference materials should be located above the keyboard and below the computer’s monitor. To help do this, use a document holder or a book to prop up materials a few inches and help rest your eyes.[3][4]
  4. 4
    Blink often. We naturally blink about 20 times every minute, but when focusing on a screen this can drop by as much as half. This means your eyes are at much greater risk of drying out when working on the computer. Since your body won’t blink as much naturally, you’ll have to be conscious of this and force yourself to blink.[5]
    • Deliberately blink every five seconds or so.
    • If you find this too distracting, try taking breaks. Every 20 minutes, look away from the screen for 20 seconds. This allows you to blink naturally and re-moisturize your eyes.
  5. 5
    Adjust your screen lighting. Your screen should be illuminated in relation to your environment. If you’re working in a brightly lit room, you can increase your brightness settings; if the room is dim, lower the settings. While the screen should be brightest object in the room, it shouldn’t be on the brightest setting in a dark room
    • Your eyes will often tell you if your screen isn’t lighted properly. If your eyes are feeling strained, try adjusting your brightness settings in relation to your work environment.
  6. 6
    Reduce glare from your screen. Surrounding lights can reflect off your screen and strain your eyes. There are several ways you can reduce glare and keep your eyes healthy.
    • Keep your computer screen clean. Dust on your screen can further reflect light into your eyes. Dust your screen on a regular basis with either a specialized cleaning cloth or spray.[7]
    • Avoid sitting with a window behind you. The sun’s rays will reflect off the screen and back into your eyes. If this is unavoidable, cover the window with a drape or sheet to help reduce the glare.[8]
    • Use lower wattage light bulbs. Very bright bulbs from desk lamps and overhead lights will reflect off the screen. If your work space is very bright, try switching to less powerful bulbs.[9]
  7. 7
    Take regular breaks. The American Optometric Association recommends that for every 2 hours of looking at the computer screen, you should take a 15 minute break. During this time you should blink, close your eyes, and allow them to rest and re-lubricate.[10]
    • This isn’t only good advice to protect your eyes, but your health in general. Sitting for long periods of time can be bad for your back, joints, posture, and weight. Use these breaks to stretch and walk around to prevent the adverse effects of prolonged sitting.
  8. 8
    Ask your eye doctor about specialized glasses. Some glasses are specifically tinted to reduce glare from computer screens. You eye doctor can recommend a good pair of these that will help properly protect your eyes from computer glare. These are available in prescription and OTC versions.[11]
    • Make sure you only use lenses specifically designed to reduce computer glare. Reading glasses won’t help in this situation.[12]
  9. 9
    Stop working if you experience symptoms of digital eye strain/computer vision syndrome. Eye doctors use this term to describe the adverse effects of prolonged computer use. These symptoms are not permanent and should subside when you step away from the computer for a few hours. They can cause significant discomfort, however, and if ignored can lead to permanent eye problems.[13]
    • Symptoms include headaches, eyestrain, blurred vision, dark or discolored eyes, and neck and shoulder pain.
    • By using the steps in this section when using the computer, you can significantly decrease your risk of developing digital eye strain. Sometimes, however, the best answer is taking a long break to let your eyes rest.

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