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Computers and Your Eyes

September 11, 2011

With the popularity of computers in the workplace, it has become more and more common to see patients with numerous eye complaints attributed to their computer monitors. Many studies have been done, and have concluded that PC monitors are not associated with any permanent ocular or visual damage.

Working long hours in front of the computer is associated with many eye symptoms including; irritation, difficulty in focusing, and blurriness. Other symptoms might include neck aches and backaches. These symptoms do not indicate any real damage, but may point to the following causes and solutions:

  1. The design of the work station is often not given enough attention. Lighting, position of reflecting surfaces, seat height, and the angle at which the monitor are viewed are all important in making the operator comfortable.
  2. The intensity, focus, and clarity of letters are all major sources of eyestrain. The brightness and contrast of the monitor can be controlled to provide the most comfortable levels. An ultraviolet and infrared filter screen placed over the monitor may also alleviate eyestrain.
  3. Periodic rest breaks are essential for comfort and relief of fatigue. It is also common for people to forget to blink while staring at the monitor. It is important to remember to blink, or use a lubricating drop such as artificial tear substitutes while working for long periods.
  4. It is also important to wear your proper prescription glasses. Uncorrected refractive errors may cause eye fatigue. People who need reading glasses may benefit from special bifocals designed for use at the computer.

In conclusion, there is no evidence that working on a computer can cause permanent damage to the eye, either from radiation or eyestrain. Most ocular complaints are due to other factors such as seating, head position, location of terminal, reflections, lighting, and the quality of the display images.

If, after correcting the above factors, you are still having eye problems while using your computer, a complete eye exam and refraction is recommended. This will determine whether or not you need glasses, or whether your current glasses are adequate for your visual needs.

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