Q&A with OCLI: Headaches and Eye Strain

Q: I work on the computer for several hours and by the end of the day my eyes often burn and I get frequent headaches. Is this going to damage my vision? Are there any tips to prevent eye strain?

A: In today’s digitally-immersed world, most everyone spends a considerable amount of time on the computer, tablet, or smart phone. Fortunately, studies have shown that frequent computer use does not result in permanent damage to your eyes or your vision. It often does, however, lead to significant eye strain and vision complications.

Eyestrain is a top complaint among people who use computers frequently in their daily lives. Luckily, there are a few simple steps that can be taken in order to alleviate some of the stress and strain on your eyes. The key is to remember to look up from your screen every 15 to 20 minutes in order to give your eyes a break. During these breaks be sure to look into the distance, across the room, or out of a window. This will help with eyestrain by allowing your eyes to focus on differing distances. You should also make sure that your workstation is correctly structured and illuminated. Ideally, the center of your computer screen should be about four to five inches below eye level and around 20 to 28 inches away. Another step is to keep your screen contrast and brightness at a comfortable level and, if possible, prevent the room from being too dark. It is also recommend that you see your eye doctor for regular eye exams, as out-of- date prescription lenses can cause a great amount of eye strain as well.

If you experience any symptoms such as eye strain, redness, dryness or irritation after prolonged computer use, be sure to speak with your eye doctor.

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