Be kind to your eyes when working at a computer

August 7, 2012

Do your eyes feel tired or irritated after you've worked at your computer? If so, you're not alone. The American Optometric Association reports computer vision syndrome is becoming more and more common. Up to 70% of people who work at computers at least two hours a day experience it. The good news is there are simple steps you can take to ease the strain.

  • Blink often. People looking at a computer screen blink about five times less often than normal. So blink more frequently to bathe your eyes in soothing tears.
  • Give your eyes a break. CBS News Medical Correspondent, Jennifer Ashton, M.D., suggests the 20/20/20 rule. Every 20 minutes, spend 20 seconds looking at something 20 feet away.
  • Minimize glare. Locate your computer screen to avoid reflections and glare from windows and lights. If you wear glasses, get an anti-reflective coating for your lenses.
  • Position your screen properly. The ideal spot is 20 to 28 inches from the eyes. Keep it about 4 or 5 inches below eye level, measured from the center of the screen.
  • Adjust your settings. Tweak the brightness, contrast and font size until you find the best settings for you.
  • Upgrade your display. Flat-panel LCD screens are easier on the eyes than older CRT monitors.
  • Get a complete eye exam. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health recommends one every year.