Protect Your Eyes from Strain

Posted October 12, 2012 by Marcy Farrey in On the Ladder

It’s the end of the work week, and if you sit at a desk most of the day, you’ve probably had your fill of staring at a computer screen. Your eyes might feel tired, dry, or scratchy. You might not think much of it, but you are straining your eyes.

A few years ago, my vision became so poor that I couldn’t see with my contacts or my glasses — I had to move the computer screen directly in front of my face. When I finally went to a doctor, I found out that ill-fitting contacts were to blame, and they had scratched the surface of my eye. I hadn’t noticed for months — at least not until my right eye developed a persistent twitch. I had almost let the situation go too far. Now, I always pay attention to how my eyes are doing. There are ways to give them a little break, even at work.

The Greatist’s Laura Newcomer offers a few helpful tips in “Computer Eye Strain Explained (and How to Avoid It).” Try some of these tips to avoid straining your eyes:

Check the positioning of your computer. You might have trouble seeing clearly if your monitor is too close or too far away. Newcomer offers a general rule of thumb:

The screen should be about an arm’s length away and positioned directly in front of the face, not off to the side. Position the monitor so its center is four to eight inches below the eyes, which allows the neck to relax while we read and type.

Minimize glare. We have this problem with our iPads and other devices as well. Glare is not just annoying for our view experience, but it’s bad for our eyes. If you have glare on your computer screen, try changing the lighting around you. Closing shades or turning off a light might help. For your handheld devices, there are screen protects that help reduce glare.

Clean your screens. I’m often lazy about this, but it’s important. If your screen is smudged or has marks on it, you’ll obviously be squinting. Do what you can to make any screen you use often as clear as possible. I use a little cloth to clean my iPad screen, and they’re available at most electronic stores.

Give your eyes a break. Don’t just give your eyes a rest at lunch. Walk way for short increments — even if it’s just five minutes. It will help.

Get your eyes checked regularly. I’ve learned the hard way how important this is. If you start noticing a problem, have a doctor check it out. If you stop something early, you can avoid a lot of pain later.

Our eyes are incredibly important, and we have to take care of them. So, after this long week in front of the screen, give your eyes a break!

For more on how to protect your eyes, check out the rest of Newcomer’s article here.

About the Author

Marcy Farrey

Marcy Farrey is a videographer, writer, and editor. In her previous life, she worked as a broadcast news reporter and producer in Lincoln, Nebraska and as a writer and producer in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She has a Master of Arts in Writing and Publishing from DePaul University and a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from Northwestern University. Learn more about Marcy on her website

One Comment


    Thanks for this! I’ve also heard that viewing things at different distances allows your eyes to change their focus, which can help minimize strain. When my eyes start to feel tired, I make sure to look at things real close up, real far away, and some things in between, scanning the horizon. For me, it always feels helpful.

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