How to Reduce Eye Strain From Staring at a Computer All Day

Technology can be a great thing when it comes to making the workday easier. All the information we need is at the touch of our fingertips. However, although laptops, tablets and smartphones can make us more productive, they can also take a toll.

Many of us stare at a computer all day long. From the moment we arrive in the office until the moment we leave, we’re sending emails, writing documents or accessing an online management program. These tasks can really do some damage to our eyes.

While you probably can’t convince your boss to eliminate screen time altogether, there are a few things you can do to reduce eye strain. If you’re someone that spends hours each day on a computer, you’ll want to try a few of these tips.

1. Take Breaks

The best thing you can do is take regular breaks to allow your eyes to rest. Schedule some short breaks throughout your day to get away from your monitor and rest your eyes. Walk around the block, grab a snack or just rest your eyes for a few minutes.

2. Get an Anti-Glare Monitor Screen

If you have a glare on your screen, you’re going to strain your eyes even more trying to read the contents. Getting an anti-glare screen for your monitor can make it easier for you to see your display.

3. Turn Down Your Brightness

Many of us crank up the brightness on our screens because we believe it will make it easier to see. If your monitor is too bright, it could actually be doing more damage to your eyes. Keep your brightness at a comfortable level to avoid additional strain.

4. Adjust Screen Coloring Late at Night

If you’re working late, you’ll want to adjust your screen to get rid of as much blue light as possible. Blue light late at night can make it more difficult for you to fall asleep and can cause more damage to your eyes. Using an app can help reduce the amount of blue light your computer is producing.

I like using the Screen Shader extension on Chrome to cut the brightness and blue light from my screen. (Just remember to adjust the settings if sending an important screenshot as the background will appear yellow.)

5. Apply the 20-20-20 Rule

The 20-20-20 rule says every 20 minutes you should look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.

This allows your eyes to readjust and get a much needed break from your computer screen. If you find it’s difficult to focus on an object for 20 seconds or your eyes feel dry, it may be time for a longer break.

6. Enlarge Your Text

Small text is more difficult for you to read, putting your eyes through an additional workout. In order to reduce eye strain, you want to keep your text large and clear. Find a font size that is comfortable for you or use Ctrl + to zoom in.

7. Give Yourself an Eye Massage

When your eyes start to feel tired, you may be tempted to give them a rub. If you’re looking for a way to help your eye muscles relax, you actually want to rub the areas around your eyes. You can relieve extremely tired eyes with a bit of warmth.

8. Set Your Desk up Appropriately

If your monitor isn’t in the appropriate position, it may be causing more damage to your eyes and neck. Make sure your monitor is just below eye level about 2 feet away from your face. Adjust your monitor until it is in a comfortable position, using a monitor riser if needed.

Halter Acrylic Monitor Stand / Monitor Riser ($25)

FITUEYES Computer Monitor Stand with keyboard Storage Space ($20 & Up)

9. Place Documents at Eye Level

If you’re using both a printed document and a computer, you want to ensure you’re not forcing your eyes to move up and down too often. Instead, prop up your book or hang your paper document next to your computer so you only need to look back and forth, not up and down, when referencing both materials.

10. Remember to Blink

It may seem weird to set yourself a reminder to blink, but when you’re staring at a computer screen you may find yourself blinking less. To keep your eyes moist and healthy, make it your mission to blink every few seconds. If you can’t remember to blink often, take longer breaks every few minutes.

11. Keep Your Screen Clean

When your computer screen is covered in dust or fingerprints, it’s more difficult to read. You’ll find yourself straining your eyes trying to identify what is behind the smudge. Make it part of your cleaning routine to wipe your screen down every few days.

While using a computer may be a necessity in the workplace, we all need to do what we can to take care of our bodies. If you find your eyes are bothering you or you realize you’ve been staring at the same screen for hours on end, try one or more of these eye-relaxing tips.

Do you have any tips for caring for your eyes at work? Share them in the comments!


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Sarah Landrum is the founder of Punched Clocks.

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