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Eye Safety at the Computer

Eye strain and computer use

The following are the most common symptoms of eye strain. These may be attributed to prolonged computer screen viewing. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

  • Red, watery, irritated eyes

  • Tired, aching, or heavy eyelids

  • Problems with focusing

  • Muscle spasms of the eye or eyelid

  • Headache

  • Backache

Symptoms of eye strain are often relieved by resting the eyes, changing the work environment, and/or wearing the proper glasses. The symptoms of eye strain may resemble other eye conditions. Talk with your healthcare provider for diagnosis.

How is eyestrain avoided?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has provided the following helpful suggestions for making the appropriate workstation changes to help avoid eye strain:

  • Position the video display terminal (VDT) slightly further away than where you normally hold reading material.

  • Position the top of the VDT screen at or slightly below eye level.

  • Place all reference material as close to the screen as possible. This will minimize head and eye movements and focusing changes.

  • Minimize lighting reflections and glare.

  • Keep the VDT screen clean and dust-free.

  • Schedule periodic rest breaks to avoid eye fatigue.

  • Keep the eyes moist (by blinking or using moisturizing eye drops) to prevent them from drying out.

  • Keep the VDT screen in proper focus.

  • Talk with your ophthalmologist or optometrist, as some individuals who normally do not need glasses may need corrective lenses for computer work.

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