Eye strain is a common complaint among people that work on computers. As a matter of fact, Healthland claims it affects 64 to 90 percent of office workers. That’s bad news for us freelancers that spend most of our time in front of a computer screen. Luckily, there are several things you can do to minimize your eye strain discomfort.
Adjust the Height of Your Monitor
Firstly, make sure the height of your monitor is adjusted to your eye level. In general, the top of your monitor should line up with your eyes when looking straight forward. This reduces eye strain because it’s much harder to look up than down. The top of your monitor can be a little bit higher than eye level if it has a larger screen.
Depending on the height of your desk and the length of your torso, you may need to elevate the monitor on your desk to achieve the optimal height. It’s better to adjust the height of your monitor than the height of your chair. This is because poor posture and improper chair alignment leads to back discomfort and other problems worse than temporary eye strain.
Laptops present an increased risk of eye strain because they typically sit much lower than eye level. Elevate your laptop as much as possible with a cooling mat, laptop desk, or anything else you can find to reduce eye strain.
Adjust Your Computer Display Settings
Poorly adjusted computer display settings also cause eye strain. Very bright screens and very dark screens are hard to focus on, which means they require your eyes to work harder. Try to adjust your monitor somewhere in between the brightest and darkest setting where your eyes are comfortable. You may need to adjust it several times throughout the day as the lighting in your room changes.
The contrast and temperature settings also make a difference on eye strain. One thing you can try is to reduce the amount of blue color. Blue light is harder to focus on than red and yellow because it has a shorter wavelength.
Another setting you can change on your computer to reduce eye strain is font size. Large text is easier on the eyes than small text, so adjust the zoom in both your word processor and internet browser. There is a typically a zoom setting at the top of your word processor and you can adjust font size in an internet browser by holding CTRL and moving the scroll on your mouse.
One of the best things you can do to reduce eye strain is to wear corrective glasses while working on the computer. Everyone’s eyes get progressively worse each year and eye strain is one contributing factor. Even people with nearly perfect vision can benefit from computer glasses. You can get special lenses that filter light, reduce glare, and compensate for any vision impairment you have.
Before heading to your eye appointment, measure the distance of your eyes from your computer screen. This helps your optometrist create the best glasses prescription for you to use while at your computer. People get glasses for driving and reading, so why not computer work, too?
Take Short Eye Breaks
People tend to open their eyes more when looking at computer screens and this dries them out. Dry eyes contribute to eye strain. Eye drops help, but it’s not a permanent solution. However, you can minimize dry eyes by blinking often and taking short eye breaks. My father-in-law is an optometrist and he told me to look away from the computer screen every once in a while and focus on something far away. If you have difficulty remembering to take eye breaks, download a break reminder app.
If you have problems with eye strain, these tips will help you minimize the effects and be more productive while working on the computer. Do you have any other suggestions to help freelancers and other office professionals suffering from eye strain? Leave a comment below.