Computer stress – Taking care of your eyes

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All right everyone. We have all been busy these days with a lot of jobs and tight deadlines.

Sometimes that is the way it goes, but don’t you think we are forgetting something really important?  Last year, I wrote a post about working from home, where I emphasized how important it is to take a break and take care of our health. Now I would like to call everybody´s attention to a certain part of our body that we usually do not take good enough care of (except when we start feeling bad).

Did you know that our eyes suffer the most consequences of spending too much time in front of the PC? The most curious thing is that we only pay attention to our eyes when there is something wrong with them. Well, I need to admit that this happened to me before, and now that I am considerably taking better care of my eyes, I would like to share with you some useful tips to rest our eyes and avoid other major problems in the future (even the risk of a glaucoma).

1st: Computer stress symptoms are:

Direct Computer Stress Symptoms:

  • headaches during or after computer extended use
  • dry, red, irritated eyes
  • blurry vision
  • slower refocusing time when vision goes from the computer screen to looking at an object in the distance
  • often losing place when looking at a document and then back the screen
  • clear distance vision difficulty after prolonged computer use
  • occasional double vision
  • color perception changes

Although the symptoms above are the most common ones, there are other symptoms that are related to computer stress:

  • neck and shoulder pain, stiffness and tension
  • upper and lower back pain
  • pain in arms, wrists, or shoulders when working on the computer
  • lowered general vision efficiency

2nd: How we can rest our eyes and prevent complications?

I found on line a very interesting and useful video that gives us some exercise tips for our eyes. It is very important to stop as many times as you can during the day (for at least 20 minutes) and relax your eyes.

Although the video above may be very helpful, there are some other important actions to consider:

1. Get a comprehensive eye exam – It is important to see your eye doctor periodically and let him/her know how many hours you spend in front of the PC. The doctor´s decision whether you need or do not need to wear glasses will certainly be very useful for your eye health.

2. Use proper lightning – Eye strain often is caused by excessively bright light either from outdoor sunlight coming in through a window or from harsh interior lighting. When you use a computer, your ambient lighting should be about half as bright as that typically found in most offices. Eliminate exterior light by closing drapes, shades or blinds. Reduce interior lighting by using fewer light bulbs or fluorescent tubes, or use lower intensity bulbs and tubes. If possible, position your computer monitor or screen so windows are to the side, instead of in front or behind it. Many computer users find their eyes feel better if they can avoid working under overhead fluorescent lights. If possible, turn off the overhead fluorescent lights in your office and use floor lamps that provide indirect incandescent or halogen lighting instead.

3. Upgrade your monitor – If you have not already done so, replace your old tube-style monitor (called a cathode ray tube or CRT) with a flat-panel liquid crystal display (LCD), like those on laptop computers. Choose a relatively large display. For a desktop computer, select a display that has a diagonal screen size of at least 19 inches.

4.  Adjust your computer monitor settings:

  • Brightness. Adjust the brightness of the display so it’s approximately the same as the brightness of your surrounding workstation. As a test, look at the white background of this Web page. If it looks like a light source, it’s too bright. If it seems dull and gray, it may be too dark.
  • Text size and contrast. Adjust the text size and contrast for comfort, especially when reading or composing long documents. Usually, black print on a white background is the best combination for comfort.
  • Color temperature. This is a technical term used to describe the spectrum of visible light emitted by a color display. Blue light is short-wavelength visible light that is associated with more eye strain than longer wavelength hues, such as orange and red. Reducing the color temperature of your display lowers the amount of blue light emitted by a color display for better long-term viewing comfort.

5.  Blink more often – Blinking is very important when working at a computer; blinking moistens your eyes to prevent dryness and irritation.

6. Exercise your eyes – This option can be done through the video above or any other method you find yourself comfortable with. If you look for exercises to relax your eyes on the internet you will see that there are many options. Choose the best for you and go for it!

7.  Take constant breaks – Breaks are extremely important and you need to try to make all efforts to rest your eyes and mind during the day. During your computer breaks, stand up, move about and stretch your arms, legs, back, neck and shoulders to reduce tension and muscle fatigue.

Source (http://www.allaboutvision.com/cvs/irritated.htm)

Do you have any specific procedure that helps you stay healthier while working in front of the PC? Share your thoughts with us! We are eager to know more about how to take care of our eyes.

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