American Osteopathic Association

Advancing the distinctive philosophy and practice of osteopathic medicine

Eye Strain at Work: See the Signs

Woman at computerIn today’s workplace, the majority of people use computers and many of them experience vision problems. How can you tell if you are one of the many people suffering from eye strain? 

“Several symptoms may appear as a result of eye strain from computer use,” explains Lee Shettle, DO, an osteopathic ophthalmologist practicing in Largo, Florida. “They include headaches, blurred vision, frequent blinking and dry eyes, just to name a few.” 

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, Dr. Shettle recommends that computer users blink intentionally or use artificial tears to keep their eyes moist.

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.

Preventing Eye Strain

Other preventive measures that can be taken to ease eye strain include:

  • Using proper lighting in your office. This means 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 and walls by using an anti-glare screen on your monitor and painting the walls a darker shade.

  • Taking frequent breaks every two to three hours for five minutes. This allows your eyes to relax and become more lubricated as a result of increased blinking. Frequent breaks can also improve your ability to focus.

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

  • Asking your eye care provider about anti-reflective lenses or special bifocal lenses.

“In addition, the size of the text that appears on your monitor should be adjusted to a comfortable reading level,” adds Dr. Shettle. “Typically, that means increasing the size to about three times 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. ​​​​


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