Eyestrain is defined as an eye discomfort that can occur when the eyes tire after a prolonged visual task. Eyestrain can be manifested by headache or discomfort around the eyes.
Sitting several hours in front of your computers can be eye-straining. If you work at a computer for more then three hours a day you are likely to have symptoms of eye strain. This can be prevented however with these tips provided by Health 24:
1. Ensure that any close-up work or computer screen is not too close to your eyes. As a general rule, view material from as great a distance as possible, provided it can still be read easily.
2. Take frequent vision breaks (at least every hour) to relax your eye muscles. Try closing your eyes and relaxing for one minute. Other useful exercises may include rolling or blinking your eyes, or closing them tightly for a few seconds.
3. Changing focus is another way to relieve the eye muscles. Every 15 to 30 minutes, look across the room or out of the window at an object at least 6 m away, for at least 20 seconds.
4. You can tire your eyes if you have to look frequently between two objects placed at different focus distances. If more than one close-up focus area is needed (when you are using printed reference material and a computer screen simultaneously), keep the viewed objects at the same distance and as close to each other as possible. This helps to reduce focusing changes.
5. Workstations and lighting should be arranged to avoid direct and reflected glare anywhere in your field of vision. Place the computer or TV screen where there is no glare from windows or lights and keep screens clean and dust-free. Use a glare filter on the screen if lighting cannot be modified.
6. Position the top of your computer monitor or TV screen at (or slightly below) eye level so you look downwards at it. This can help with dry eyes. More of the eye surface is covered by the eyelid when you look down, with the result that your eyes blink more and produce more lubrication.
7. Wear sunglasses that reduce glare and provide 100% protection from ultraviolet rays while you are driving or working outside, especially on bright or hazy days. Sunglasses also prevent squinting that may strain eye and facial muscles. If you’re going on a long car trip, stop every few hours to rest your eyes and stretch your muscles.
8. When reading, knitting or drawing, hold your material about 30 to 40 cm away from your eyes. Ensure you have adequate soft light (a 60 to 100-watt bulb) behind you.
9. When using a computer or similar equipment, room lighting should not be as bright as the screen. To reduce troublesome contrast, find a way to darken the area around the screen. Keep your computer monitor in proper focus.
10. While you are watching TV, the room lighting should be about 50% dimmer than the screen. Don’t watch in darkness because this makes the contrast in light too great. Avoid viewing from an angle and sit at a reasonable distance from the TV (about four or five times the width of the screen). In other words, for a 50-cm screen, sit about 2 to 2.5 m away. People with poorer sight may need to sit closer. Children with uncorrected shortsightedness often sit close to the screen in order to see more clearly. An ophthalmologist (eye specialist) can diagnose this condition and prescribe corrective glasses.
11. If your eyes feel particularly dry after any visual activity, try an over-the-counter teardrop product containing polyvinyl alcohol (a wetting agent) or methylcellulose.