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How to prevent eye strain and eye fatigue

Eye strain and eye fatigue are very common problems for people who do a lot of computer-based work. And let’s face it, these days, that’s a lot of people! As computer-based work has increased—along with Smartphone use—our eyes are spending more time looking at digital screens and devices than ever before.

However, there are many things you can do to reduce eye strain and eye fatigue, most of these involve simple adjustments.

1. Get your eyes tested

The best way to prevent eye strain and eye fatigue is to make sure that your eyes aren’t working any harder than they need to be. Extended computer-work without glasses or contact lenses when your eyes really need them (or with a prescription that no longer suits your needs) is a sure-fire recipe for problems.

Book in with an optometrist for a full eye exam and explain to them how much time you spend in front on the computer at work and at home.

2. Set up your work station properly

If you work in a medium-large sized business, it’s likely there’ll be someone dedicated to workplace health and safety. Contact this person and request any information (including diagrams) of how best to set up your desk and work station. How to prevent eye strain and eye fatigue

You may find that you need to do things like:

  • change the distance your computer screen sits from your face
  • raise or lower your computer screen so it is at the correct eye level
  • adjust your desk chair, desk height, and even get a foot rest to make sure you have correct posture.

3. Reduce glare

Any excess glare coming from your computer screen or surroundings will quickly put a strain on your eyes.

To reduce glare, consider things like:

  • adjusting the ‘brightness’ setting on your monitor
  • buying an anti-glare screen to go over your monitor
  • repositioning your computer so you are not looking at bright walls or windows behind the screen
  • closing blinds or curtains so that you minimise light coming from outside.

4. Adjust the display settings on your computer monitor

It might sound obvious, but many people put up with far-from-ideal display settings on their computer monitor, which could be contributing to eye strain and eye fatigue.

In particular, look at adjusting the:

  • brightness setting
  • contrast
  • colour temperature.

As well as these, you should also consider changing the text and font size of documents, such as Microsoft Word, so you can easily read them without straining.

5. Exercise your eyes and blink more

To reduce eye fatigue you should look away from your computer screen approximately every 20 minutes and look at something in the distance, for example out a window, for at least 20 seconds.

Digital screens cause us to reduce the amount of blinking we naturally do, so if you feel your eyes becoming dry and irritated, try to remember to blink more when staring at your screen.

6. Take regular breaks

Taking regular breaks is not only good to relax and reset your eyes, it’s also recommended as a general workplace health and safety practice for your whole body.

Try to stand up every 30-60 minutes. You can walk to the photocopier, the kitchen for a cup of tea, or take the opportunity to walk over to a work colleague and talk to them face-to-face rather than sending an email. Regular breaks can work wonders for eye strain and eye fatigue.

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