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December 03, 2004
10 Tips for Avoiding Computer-caused Eyestrain
With the growing use of computers in the workplace and at home, more employees
are spending more time in front of the computer monitor, which puts extra demand
on the eyes. If computer workstations are set up incorrectly, it could lead
to eyestrain. Here are 10 tips for avoiding computer-caused eyestrain.
- Look away from the monitor for 30 seconds, every 15 or 20 minutes. Look
at or scan things at least 20 feet away to allow the eyes to focus in rest
- Position the monitor 20 to 26 inches from your eyes (roughly the distance from
your eyes to the end of your index finger with arm outstretched). Otherwise,
you'll be forced to sit or lean too close to the screen, or sit too far away.
If your eyeglass prescription does not allow clear vision at this range,
get it adjusted.
- Set the monitor height so that the top edge is even with your view when
looking straight ahead. Then tilt the screen upward so you are not looking
at the image at an angle. The optimal screen position is 10 to 20 degrees
below eye level.
- Set the monitor screen resolution, Internet browser text size, and the zoom
and font default on other applications so that text is easy to read (600x800
for the screen resolution is standard).
- Set the monitor refresh rate to 75 hz or above. 60 hz is too slow and will
cause eye strain.
- Remember to blink often (put a sticky note on your monitor!). The average
blink rate is 22 times per minute. The rate goes down to 7 per minute when
looking at a monitor--this causes the eye lens to dry out. Use an eye moistener
if you can't get into the habit of blinking more often.
- Put the palm of your hands over your eyes for a minute or so, once every
half hour. This warms the muscles around the eyes, relaxing them.
- Minimize glare. Make sure the background light level around the monitor
is about the same as the screen light level. Minimize direct sunlight or bright
lights in front of the monitor or directly behind it. Attach a glare shield
if a bright background or reflection can't be minimized.
- A bright screen causes eyestrain. Adjust the contrast and brightness to
levels you use when reading a book comfortably.
- Place a paper holder at the same level as the monitor, or attach it to the
monitor, to hold documents. This prevents repetitive upper body and eye movement
from paper to screen.