Work Safety- Computers and your vision

Computers are taking over! It is more and more likely that you spend time in front of a computer at work. If this is true, you should be aware that prolonged attention to a computer screen has been shown to cause eye strain. Some medical professionals say it can even cause permanent harm to your eyesight. There are some common-sense ways to reduce the danger to your vision caused by computers.

The first step is to pay attention to signals that eye strain may be occurring. Blurry vision and dry eyes are early signs that your eyes need to rest. Headaches often indicate that you are concentrating too closely on the screen. People should spend 10 to 15 minutes of every hour doing something that does not require them to concentrate on a computer screen. This might be other work, conferring with a colleague, or taking a break. Schedule non-computer tasks throughout the day.

The setup of your computer station can also help you avoid eye strain. Newer-model LCD screens are better for the eyes than older CRT screens. Upgrade if you haven’t already. Also check the brightness of your screen. Overly bright settings may be part of the problem. Do not move your face closer to the screen to view things. Enlarge them on the screen so you can see more clearly. PDFs and word-processing documents have zoom functions to make text any size you want. Your computer screen should remain two feet from your face at all times.

If vision problems persist, you should see an eye doctor. If your employer provides your insurance, request a vision-coverage plan for the office. If you are self-employed or buy your own insurance, add vision insurance to your plan. Computer-heavy jobs may require a visit to the optometrist sooner or later.