Keep Computers from Wrecking Your Eyes

Here are six simple steps to safeguard your eyes from all those hours of screen time.

Keep Computers from Wrecking Your Eyes

Whether for work or pleasure, many of us spend hours each day in front of a computer screen. And like it or not, your body often bears the brunt of all that time logged on—with tired eyes, headaches, and neck pain all par for the course. But there are ways to avoid the hazards of spending so much time staring at screens. Here are six simple steps to safeguard your eyes from all those hours of screen time.

1. Keep blinking. Each time you blink, your eyelids spread naturally therapeutic tears over the surface of your eye. This keeps them from drying out, which would otherwise lead to irritation and soreness.

2. Follow the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, spend 20 seconds looking at something at least 20 feet away. This keeps the muscles in your eyes working hard over the full range of their focus instead of the fixed distance from you to your screen.

3. Get the right light. Good lighting isn’t just flattering, it’s good for your eyes. Keep bright overhead light to a minimum with any lamps shining on your desk, not on you. Keep window light to your left or right, rather than in front or behind you. Position your computer screen to reduce reflections from windows or overhead lights to reduce eye strain.

4. Monitor your monitor. Your monitor should be at least 24-28 inches from your eyes, with the center about four to six inches below eye level. Make sure it’s big enough and adjust the brightness and contrast to your comfort.

5. Wear those computer specs. Your doctor can prescribe a pair of computer glasses designed specifically to reduce eye strain when viewing computer screens and other digital devices. If you wear glasses, make sure the lenses are the right prescription and talk to your doctor about other lenses that might help with screen fatigue.

6. Talk to your doc. Eyes change over time, especially when you go from a little screen time to a lot of screen time. Getting your eyes checked by an ophthalmologist on an annual basis is key to making sure your prescription is correct and that you’re not straining your eyes.

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