How a Computer Screen Affects Your Eyes

by Dave Jackson

Mom always told me to be good to my eyes. I mean, think of it, you only get two of them and you need them almost more than any other item. But for the forty-six percent of us (in America, anyway) who are looking at portable electronic devices – this means computers, smart phones, and PDA’s – like more than 5 hours a day, you would think that you’d become super efficient – and maybe you are – but at a price. Listen…

There is a new syndrome called Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS, but not the pharmacy, convenience store). Actually, it’s not “new” – but probably new to you. See if you have it:

Dry eyes, eye strain, blurred vision and headaches.

If you’re like me, you suffer some of these (for me, blurred vision at a range further than what I have my screens set at.) So here is what you do:

Take breaks –

Taking a break from computerOK, write this down: The 20-20-20 rule. At least every 20 minutes take a 20 second break and look at something 20 feet away.

Want to get rich? Create an iPad app for that – little timer in the side of the screen – and sell it for .99 cents. It’s a real necessity, especially with kids using these things earlier and earlier in life.

Use a Bigger Font –

You know how you either put on your cheaters, or move the screen right in your face and squint so you can see and read? Stop it.

Use a Bigger Font

Did you know every modern web browser has settings to increase the size of the font on the page? Set the font to a bigger size and move the monitor back at a comfortable distance. Do it now. I’ll wait…

Buy Clearer Monitors –

High resolution monitorThat sounds funny, but what it means is get a monitor that has a really high resolution. Why? Because you’re going to be staring your precious eyes at the thing the whole day. You should get the best you can afford. Clarity equates to more comfort. Don’t be sold something – do your own research. Look into high definition monitors. They are getting cheaper all the time. Consider upgrading what you have. Look on CraigsList for a better monitor, or eBay.

Glare is Your Enemy –

Glare around computer monitor

In my office, I wanted the desk in front of the window so I could look out onto our back yard. It’s quite a view – imagine tall pine trees, dozens of palms, beautiful green grass, and dozens of bromeliads gracing the perimeter. But I found out after one day that the glare coming into the office was giving me a headache.

Unfortunately, I’d have to move the desk to face the room and have the window to my side. And I found a very nice LED office lamp at Costco for under $20 that has brilliant clean light and only shines on my desk, meaning no glare about the walls.

The same goes for your computer screen – you don’t want it too bright either – or too dim. This is an important variable you want to play around with to find, again… your comfort zone.

Head Down Display –

Heads down displayEver notice how news anchors have displays that are inset in the desk? It’s a natural position for our eyes. I’m not saying to drop your monitor to the floor, but research has found that having the monitor at a slightly lower height than the eyes makes it easier to focus on what you’re reading. That’s why people walk the street with their head down looking at their cell phones. It’s the best position to read. Try it.

My source is the American Optometric Association, and I really hope this helps you as much as it has helped me.

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