So hey, let’s talk about eye strain! Following up on our last blog post with tips for creating a more ergonomic workstation, it’s also important to know how to take precautions to protect our peepers.

After all, how much time do you spend staring at a computer screen every day? Our guess is it’s a significant amount. In fact, American workers spend an average of seven hours a day in front of the computer. If you notice your eyes feeling dry, blurry vision, or an aching head at the end of the day, all this computer time may be to blame.

But like most of us, you probably can’t realistically reduce time spent in front of the screen. That’s okay! A few simple steps will help you take better care of your precious vision.

  • Blink more often: Every 20 minutes, take a quick break and slowly blink your eyes 10 times (imagine you’re getting very sleepy…). This helps protect your eyes by keeping them lubricated.

We blink far less frequently (about one third fewer blinks per hour) when working at the computer, which causes dryness of the eyes. Dry office environments may contribute to the problem as well.

paper holder stand

  • Use a stand for printed pages: Looking back and forth between the screen and a printed page causes eye strain. Placing papers on a stand is not only better for your posture, it makes it easier to light the page properly which reduces eye strain.
  • Take breaks: It’s common for people to take only a couple of 15-minute breaks during the workday. However, a recent NIOSH study found that discomfort and eye strain could be significantly reduced when computer workers took four additional five-minute “mini-breaks” throughout the day.
  • Exercise your eyes using the 20-20-20 rule: To reduce eye fatigue caused by staring at the screen for long period of time, look away from your computer screen every 20 minutes and stare at an object approximately 20 feet away for 20 seconds. (This allows the focusing muscle in your eyes to get a break.) That’s easy enough to remember.

Why not set an alarm on your computer or phone to remind you to take a break. It might just increase your concentration as well.

  • Adjust your computer’s display settings: Brightness should be about the same level of brightness as your workstation. The screen is too bright if it appears as a light source, not bright enough it appears dull or gray.

Color temperature: Avoid the eye strain-causing blue light emitted by computers. Adjust the color temperature toward longer wavelength hues like orange or red.