by Carole Bodger

Tips to Prevent Eye Strain

Jun 15, 20012 mins

One of the most common work-related maladies is also the most frequently overlooked?eyestrain. The effects can include burning, watery eyes; blurred vision; tension headaches and migraines, but taking a few simple measures may prevent or relieve those symptoms.

1. Use the right light. Lighting that is too dim or too bright can tire your eyes. Strive for a happy medium so that you can comfortably see your work.

2. Carefully set up your computer. Position the top of your screen at or slightly below eye level, no less than 20 inches from your eyes and tipped toward you 10 to 20 degrees. Set the illumination at a comfortable level, avoid backlighting, and use an antiglare screen.

3. Exercise your eyes. To prevent eye fatigue, every half hour or so slowly roll your eyes in one direction, then the other.

4. Look ahead. Position whatever you’re looking at directly in front of you. Use document caddies to prop up papers on the desk or beside your monitor.

5. See an eye doctor. Don’t neglect getting routine eye exams. Everyone between the ages of 20 and 39 should see an ophthalmologist for a full exam at least once. Those between the ages of 40 and 64 should do so every two years.

6. Blink. Your eyelids are natural windshield washers. Every blink bathes the eyes with cleansing tears.

7. Refocus. Staring at your computer screen or any one piece of reading material for extended periods of time can bring on eyestrain symptoms. Look away and refocus your vision every 15 minutes.

8. Moisturize your eyes. Artificial tears and a variety of over-the-counter eyedrops can soothe overworked orbs. Hypoallergenic preparations are available as well.

9. Wear sunglasses all year. Winter or summer, they’re the best defense against damaging ultraviolet solar rays. Choose lenses that block 99 percent to 100 percent of UV-A and UV-B radiation, block no less than 75 percent of visible light, and have gray, green or brown lenses.

10. Adjust the view. If you wear bifocals or graduated prescription lenses, look through the appropriate area of the lens for reading or distance. Ask your doctor about specialized lenses to help with the depth of focus involved in computer use.