How to Reduce Computer Eye Strain and Improve Your Vision
by John A. Manley
The first sign Peter Parker had become Spiderman was improved vision. After being bitten by a radioactive spider, Peter reached for his glasses and put them on his nose. Everything appeared blurred. His prescription was useless with his now perfect vision. He also had some other interesting lifestyle changes, such as climbing walls and shooting webs. Yet whenever he becomes stressed these powers diminish and he invariably reaches for his spectacles.
Don't we all go through these types of visual fluctuations? When work requires reading, writing or design, eyestrain is a hindrance both to speed and efficiency. And that translates into poorer results and less pay. A 1999 Occupational Safety and Health Administration study showed 90% of those who use computers for more than three hours a day suffer from vision problems. Do you know any copywriters or graphic designers who use their computers for more than three hours a day? And as we get older and continue to strain our eyes, result of eyestrain becomes impossible to ignore.
Yet you can avoid and even reverse these problems. Mortals can share Spiderman's power over his vision. Look at work of Dr. William Bates, a New York ophthalmologist from late nineteenth century. He observed visual behaviour of countless eyes, both human and animal. He discovered that people with poor sight daily achieve 20/20 vision for brief periods without noticing it. Eagles and cats have specific ways of seeing. He developed these findings into Bates Method, which teaches how to mimic optimal visual behaviour.
Though Dr. Bates views were shunned in his time, they have become popular in our holistic century. Combined with modern ergonomics (the science of ones work environment) there exist powerful steps you can take to remove eyestrain and improve vision. It doesn't cost anything and takes almost no time. In fact you will save time because you'll work faster and better.
Your eyes are among your most important tools. Studies have shown eyestrain directly affects productivity, with fatigued vision causing misread research and proofreading mistakes. Your mind responds with grogginess and your body with weariness.
Experiment with following tips and after a single day you'll notice a reduction in eyestrain. By end of week most people noticed their workdays ran smoother. After a month you'll probably find your vision is sharper.
Maximize Your Work Space for Greater Efficiency and Productivity
•Clean Your Screen - Monitors need more than weekly cleaning, as their static nature attracts dust to their surfaces.
•Arms Length Viewing - Sit straight in front of your computer and stretch your arms out in front of you. Your screen should just touch tip of your middle finger. Sitting closer or farther away will cause problems. The screen is composed of pixels; being too close makes it difficult to blur these points into letters. If you find you can't see properly at arm's length increase font size.
•Eye Level - Leaning back at a slight angle, top of your monitor should be at eye level. You may have to prop monitor on some old telephone books or purchase a monitor stand (which can double as a shelf underneath).
•Glare - Make sure there is absolutely no glare in your range of vision, either on your monitor or around it. Position your screen so it is free from reflections. If necessary tape a file folder to its side to use as a sunscreen. Do not, however, make room dark because it is damaging to eyes.
•Empty Space - We are naturally far-sighted creatures. It is best not to place your monitor against a wall. It can be placed in front of a window only if sun does not glare through. The best position is probably perpendicular to one of walls in center of your workspace, leaving a few feet behind your workstation. This allows your eyes to frequently relax in their natural distant seeing state.