American Osteopathic Association

Advancing the distinctive philosophy and practice of osteopathic medicine

Taking Breaks Helps Prevent Eye Strain

man at computerStaring at your computer all day or constantly checking emails on your smartphone without taking a break can lead to eye strain.

You could be experiencing eye strain if you notice these signs:

  • Headaches.

  • Blurred vision.

  • Frequent blinking.

  • Dry eyes.

For most people, eye strain is a problem due to focusing on the material they are viewing with such intensity that they end up not blinking as much. This causes the eyes to become dry. To combat this, Lee Shettle, DO, an osteopathic ophthalmologist, recommends computer users blink intentionally or use artificial tears to keep their eyes moist.

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Preventing Eye Strain

In addition to blinking more or using artificial tears, you also can ease eye strain by: 

  • Using proper lighting in your office by using fewer light bulbs or fluorescent lights, and closing the blinds.

  • Replacing old computer monitors with digital, thin screen monitors.

  • Minimizing glare on your computer by using an anti-glare screen on your monitor.

  • Taking frequent breaks every two to three hours for five minutes to allow your eyes to relax and become more lubricated as a result of increased blinking.

  • Positioning the computer monitor between 20 to 26 inches away from your eyes.

  • Adjusting the size of text that appears on your monitor to a comfortable reading level, typically about three sizes larger than the size you normally read.

Although these preventive measures contribute to healthier eyes, people need to remember to have their eyes examined. Dr. Shettle advises that people under age 40 visit the eye doctor every other year while those over 40 should make annual visits. ​​​​

Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine, or DOs, look beyond your symptoms to understand how lifestyle and environmental factors affect your wellbeing. They listen and partner with you to help you get healthy and stay well. They also encourage your body’s natural tendency toward self-healing.

 

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