Five Ways Not to Damage Eyes From a Computer Screen


Computer Screen

From smart phones to laptops, a significant possibility exists that people spend a huge amount of time every day in front of a screen. According to North Carolina Wake Forest Family Eye Care, people who spend two or more nonstop hours in front of a computer screen or digital media every day are most at risk for computer vision syndrome. Symptoms of computer vision syndrome include eyestrain, blurred vision, headaches, and dry eyes, according to the American Optometric Association. Many people may already have the syndrome and not even realize it. Other than computer or laptop screens, external screens can also cause significant eyestrain for multiple reasons. There are five simple ways not to damage eyes from a computer screen.

The Monitor– Staring at a computer screen for too long or sitting too close to a television will hurt eyes—but only temporarily. Much of the problem can come from the screen, because people staring at one for long periods of time tend not to blink, says Dr. Richard Rosen, director of ophthalmology research at New York Eye and Ear Infirmary. Sitting an arm’s length away from computer screen is always recommended. The screen could be slightly tilted, and should be positioned right below eye level. After-dinner TV-watching in complete darkness and holding smart phones or gaming devices too close could be harmful to vision as well.

Glare– The glossy surface of a computer monitor or smart phone screen can be highly reflective. Glare may be harmful to vision, particularly when staring at it for extended periods of time. Glare leads to eye muscle fatigue, for the eyes have to struggle to make out the images on the screen. According to the American Optometric Association, to stay away from glare, mostly from overhead lighting or windows, the computer screen should be in proper position. Drapes or blinds on windows can be used, and replacing the light bulbs in desk lamps with bulbs of lower wattage is a good idea.

Blink– When people stare closely at computer screens and forget to blink, the lack of blinking may cause irritation and create dry eyes. Blinking is a repeated function of the human body. An average blink rate is a few times every few seconds, but during the time of staring at a screen, the rate drops to a few blinks per few minutes. Blinking is a good way to give the stare a little break from time to time. Researcher Dr Edward Mendelson from the Southwestern Medical Center at the University of Texas suggests a ‘‘20/20/20/20’’ rule. Twenty seconds of blinking can stop computer users from getting eye strain.

Breathe– Breathing is not only life it is also one of five major ways not to damage eyes from a computer screen. When people come across a stressful situation, in most circumstances they are likely to hold their breath. When someone is very relaxed or deep in thought or concentration, the person is likely to breathe less. Studies show when working in front of a screen, even and steady breathing could relax the eye muscles and help prevent the vision from blurring.

Breaks– The “20/20/20/20” rule should be followed: every twenty minutes blink twenty times consecutively, then take a twenty second break while looking twenty feet away. Even if someone cannot keep in mind the rule, it is advisable to get up and stretch or look away for a moment to blink and breathe from time to time. This brief break can work wonders for eyes. This could also increase productivity, and might reduce symptoms of computer vision syndrome.

There is no one clear solution to all of the types of problems people may experience with computer and general screen use. As screen time is on the rise, people should follow these five ways not to damage eyes from a computer screen.

By Rahad Abir

American Optometric Association
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One Response to "Five Ways Not to Damage Eyes From a Computer Screen"

  1. saykeng   September 5, 2014 at 10:23 pm

    Notwithstanding what’s prescribed here, the best eye exercises away from the computer screen are those popularised by alternative health practitioner Janet Goodrich, known as “natural vision improvement”, particularly the sets designated as “Palming”, “Sunning” and “Near/Far Visioning”.

    I have learned and used these as far back as the late 80’s. Just google to find out more about them.

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