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6 Tips for beating computer eye strain

Home | 22 May 2018

Nine out of ten of Australia’s working population have access to the internet.

Unless you’re that lucky one, you spend most of your day with your eyes glued to a computer screen.
If you’re not reading and replying to emails, you’re probably watching “job-related” videos of cute puppies. All of which can lead to computer eye strain.

Here are 6 tips for avoiding this common irritation.

1. Maximise natural lighting

Let the sun shine! If you’re lucky enough to have your desk next to a window, open those blinds and turn off some of the overhead fluorescent lighting. You could start an energy saving campaign to turn off other lights in the office too. You’ll be saving the planet and your eyes!

Exposing your eyes to natural sunlight may even enhance your vision.

2. Use a monitor not a laptop

It’s so convenient. It’s how over half of employed Australians get to work in their pajamas at home using wireless networking and a laptop. However, laptops are also limited in their displays.

Smaller screens mean smaller text and more squinty eyes. You can change resolution and size on a monitor, giving your eyes a break. And it gives you more screen space to fill with useless shortcut icons!

You may also want to play with the background and font color to give better contrast to your screen. Sometimes small tweaks to these settings can help with your vision and eye strain.

3. Keep your screen at the right distance

Keep yourself at about arm’s length from your screen. Too close and your eyes tend to squint due to brightness. Too far away and you squint because the writing is now tiny. Look for that Goldilocks zone where it’s just right. Since they haven’t invented a way to send smells across the internet, putting your nose to the screen will just make you look like the office crazy person.

4. Adjust your display settings

If you find that your screen is actually brighter than the lights already on, you may need to adjust your settings. The screen brightness should be about twice your ambient light but not enough to give your eyeballs a tan. It will also save some battery life on your laptop and tablet if you reduce the brightness.

5. Get up and move around regularly

What’s good for the rest of your body is good for your eyes too. Getting away from the screen for a short time gives the eyes a break. This has the added benefit of reducing neck and shoulder strain too.

Staring out the window at the millions of mobile phone users in Australia as they dodge aimlessly through crowds is entertaining anyway.

6. Exercise your eyes

Working at your computer, you tend to blink a lot less. Just like the rest of your body, your eye muscles will become stiff if you continue to stare at the screen. Blinking also moistens the surface and clears away the dirt. Looking away from your computer every 10-20 minutes can work your eyes and allow you to spy on your office neighbours.

You can also try to stare at something up close for a minute, then far away for a minute. This will exercise the internal muscles that control focus.

Wrapping up

92% of Australians use the internet. It doesn’t matter if you use a laptop, tablet, or desktop and monitor, you have accessed something online. Your eyes are doing a lot of work with staring and reading, and staring some more. Implementing some of these strategies can save you a headache in the end. Take care of your eyes. They still have a lot of puppy videos to watch.