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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.

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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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).

  5. Set the monitor refresh rate to 75 hz or above. 60 hz is too slow and will cause eye strain.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. A bright screen causes eyestrain. Adjust the contrast and brightness to levels you use when reading a book comfortably.

  10. 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.


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