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Feeling the strain?

office worker

Photo: Yuri_Arcurs/iStockphoto

Eyestrain is a common condition that can develop from reading for long periods without taking breaks to rest your eyes, exposure to bright lights or glare, straining to see when it’s too dim, having an underlying eye condition, or being overly stressed or fatigued. According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms include tired, burning, itchy, watery or dry eyes; double vision; sensitivity to light; and difficulty concentrating. Eyestrain also can cause headaches as well as back, shoulder and neck pain.

Steps to take

Employees who have jobs that require them to work on computers for two or more hours in a row every day are at the highest risk of eyestrain. If job tasks entail heavy computer use, the Mayo Clinic recommends the following tips to help prevent eyestrain:

  • Don’t forget to blink. Blinking produces tears that will moisten and refresh your eyes.
  • Give your eyes a break. Regularly look away from your monitor by following the “20-20-20 rule”: Every 20 minutes, look at an object about 20 feet away for a minimum of 20 seconds.
  • Be mindful of lighting and glare. Lights that are too bright or create too much glare can strain your eyes and make it difficult to see your monitor, the Mayo Clinic states. The worst offenders are light sources above or behind you, as well as fluorescent lighting and sunlight. To avoid these issues, try using an adjustable desk lamp, close the blinds or shades to prevent glare, and avoid putting your monitor directly in front of a window or white wall. Consider using an anti-glare cover for your computer screen.
  • Ensure your monitor is adjusted properly. It should be directly in front of you, about an arm’s length away, with the top of the screen at or just below eye level.
  • Make it easy on yourself. Are you struggling to read small fonts? Adjust your computer’s type size so it’s easier to read.

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