Eye strain is a real problem for those utilizing even the best computer display technologies as part of their job. There is even a syndrome in the eye care world – Computer Vision Syndrome which describes how digital display use can negatively affect a person’s ocular comfort, vision and even retina. Good news – it can be mitigated. Follow these steps to dramatically increase your visual comfort and even productivity!
Adjust position of the monitor
Adjusting location can reduce your eyestrain considerably. For optimal comfort, the monitor should be 20-30 inches away from your eyes. The top of your monitor should be at eye level as well. You should be looking down at your work, not straining upwards to read the display.
Optimize your vision
Insuring your eyes are properly focusing light and healthy is key! Get an annual eye exam. Many ocular surface conditions can dramatically reduce the clarity of your vision. Even if you don’t need eyeglasses for everyday tasks, you may very well benefit from a highly customized prescription just for computer use.
Strongly Consider UV/Blue-Blocking Lens Coatings
The harsh emissions of modern displays based on LED technology have a peak wavelength emission of 480-500 nanometers. Not only are these wavelengths harsh on the eye, they also can negatively affect your ability to sleep. The retina has receptors which directly communicate to your brain and tell it to be wakeful or not. The whitish-blue light of this peak emission spectra dramatically suppresses the body’s natural production of melatonin and thus your ability to sleep normally. New lens coatings very effectively block these wavelengths without affecting your color perception. Using software to tune your monitor and/or smartphone will not by-pass this issue which is ‘baked into’ the hardware. Ask me about incredible options in coatings!
Adjust light and display Settings
An office with too much artificial or natural light creates monitor glare and adds to eye fatigue. Remove harsh fluorescent lights, if possible, and position your computer so that any natural light is not directly shining on your monitor. Floor or desk lamps can provide indirect lighting. Also, don’t forget to dust off the screen regularly! Brightness: Adjust the brightness of the display, so it’s approximately the same as the brightness of your surrounding workstation. Text size and contrast: Adjust the text size and contrast, particularly if reading or writing documents. Usually, black text on a white background is the best combination for avoiding eye strain. Color temperature: This is the term used to describe the spectrum of visible light emitted by a display. Blue light is a short-wavelength visible light that is associated with more eye strain than colors like orange and red. Reducing the color temperature lowers the amount of blue light emission, increasing comfort while engaging with the monitor.
Modify your workstation
Think ergonomics. When work materials and tools are scattered in different areas of your workstation, this forces your eyes to constantly readjust for different distances. Place your keyboard in front of your monitor. If you reference paper or other materials, insure they are placed perpendicular to your eyes, preferably in a holder of some sort.
Use the “20-20-20 Rule”
Every 20 minutes, locate an object about 20 feet away and stare at it for 20 seconds. Don’t forget to blink & blink often! Studies show computer users blink 70% less than when not on the computer!
Get Out of There !
Multiple studies in Singapore and Asia show those who spend much time indoors and little outdoor time have a much higher prevalence of increasing myopia (near-nearsightedness). Moral of the story, especially if you live in a beautiful place like Boulder – you absolutely need to get out often and disconnect from your technology! Your body & soul will also thank you for it.
Following the above tips will dramatically enhance your work productivity and visual comfort!