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Avoiding Computer Eye Strain

William D. Jones MD

Since 1996, William D. Jones, MD, has led an independent occupational and preventive medicine practice in Oklahoma City, OK. William D. Jones, MD, of OK helps patients to preserve their health and avoid illnesses and injuries, particularly those related to the workplace.

For the many professionals who spend a substantial portion of their days looking at a computer screen, eye strain can cause discomfort and vision problems. This occurs because screen use causes people to blink less often, thereby preventing proper eye lubrication.

A computer user can begin to minimize these effects by cutting down on a screen’s glare. The screen should not be brighter than the surrounding area, nor should any windows or overhead lighting cast glare on the screen. A matte filter can reduce the amount of light that the computer screen reflects.
Experts recommend that the screen itself be 10 to 15 degrees below eye level and approximately 25 inches way from the face. Any printed reference materials should be placed below the monitor but above the keyboard or beside the monitor on a document holder. Ideally, the user should not need to move his or her head to view the printed material.
Users can also protect their eyes by taking regular breaks. An easily remembered guideline is the “20-20-20” rule, which reminds the user that after 20 minutes of computer use, he or she should look at an object at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds. The American Optometric Association also recommends a 15-minute eye rest period after every two hours of computer use.

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