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Reduce Eyestrain When You Work at a Computer All Day

Man working in front of a computer
If you spend several hours a day sitting at your computer for work or school, you can likely feel the strain it's leaving on your eyes.

Eyestrain related to screen time is serious — while prolonged computer use won't permanently damage your eyes, your eyes will begin to suffer from the constant exposure to the screen and having to stay focused to remain on task.

Learn the signs of eyestrain and discover what you can do to reduce your symptoms. Speak to your eye doctor if you are experiencing double vision, dizziness, changes in your vision that cause you to squint, or other vision-related issues.

Recognize Eyestrain Symptoms

Eyestrain doesn't just include issues with your eyes — it can also cause pain or tension in your upper back, neck, or shoulders. Other symptoms of eyestrain include:
  • Dry, red eyes
  • Temporary double or blurry vision
  • Watering, irritated eyes
  • Pressure behind or above eyes
  • Eye fatigue
  • Issues with eyes staying focused
You may experience some or all of these eyestrain symptoms. You may also experience other symptoms of eyestrain, including physical fatigue and difficulty keeping your eyes open while you are at your computer, especially if you haven't given your eyes a break from your computer screen in a while. Sensitivity to changes in lighting is another sign of eyestrain.

Reduce Eyestrain

The following are effective ways you can reduce eyestrain.

Take Eye Breaks

Being at your computer for prolonged time periods will make eyestrain worse. Every 20 minutes, give your eyes a break by focusing on another object several feet away for a number of seconds before returning your eyes to your task.

For every 2 hours you are at your computer, take a longer break. Walk around to relieve your entire body of stress and to give your eyes a break.

Lower Screen Brightness

Your computer screen's brightness can be lowered to make your eyes more comfortable. Make the brightness low enough that your screen doesn't look white (rather, it should look slightly off-white in the background) but not so low that you have to squint to see what you are doing.

Dimming the lights in your office or computer room will also help reduce eyestrain. Note: Don't dim your lights lower than your computer screen. Install yellow or soft lighting where your computer is to make the light less severe on your eyes.

Use Natural Light

Natural sunlight is the best lighting for working at a computer. Not only is sunlight easier on your eyes, sunlight is a mood lifter as well, which can reduce not just eyestrain but strain on your whole body. Install thin curtains in your computer room or open drapes wide to let natural light aide you while you work.

Install a Humidifier

A humidifier in your computer room helps reduce the dryness that comes along with eyestrain. Using a humidifier reduces the amount of eye drops you use to keep your eyes moist (which will eventually make redness and dryness worse).

Get Glasses

If you already wear glasses, ask your eye doctor if you need a different prescription of eyewear for working at your computer. If you are not a lens-wearer already, schedule an eye appointment to see if a low-prescription pair of glasses can help reduce eyestrain and make you more productive and focused.

Working at a computer all day does put stress on your eyes. Make an appointment with your eye doctor if the changes you make to your work environment don't help reduce your eyestrain. Our eye specialists at St. Pierre Eye Care will assist you in all your vision needs and concerns.