Computers and Your Eyes Image

Computers and Your Eyes: The Negative Effects

Over the last decade, workplaces have changed drastically. With more and more of our work being conducted digitally across all industries, people across the world are spending more and more time on the computer.  Many of us are all but glued to the screen all day long! If that’s you, you’re probably not thinking about the unhealthy link between computers and your eyes.

One of our readers, Jenny H. from Oregon, wrote us, “What ideas do you have for me – I sit behind a computer all day long!” Jenny’s question is actually one of the most common questions we get asked. So, here are some ways to mitigate the draining effects computers can have on our eyes.

Computers and Your Eyes

Computers and Your Eyes Image


If you’re going into the new year feeling burnt out from not only the mental and emotional aspects of work but also the physical, you’re not alone. It’s all too common to experience eye strain and exhaustion from too much screen time and too little time in natural lighting.

If your job is set in an office, you’ve likely experienced eye strain, headaches, and blurred vision. You may be suffering from Computer Vision Syndrome, which is a complex vision problem connected with staring at a computer for too long.

Let’s go over some of the symptoms of this ever-more-common syndrome and what you should know about computers and your eyes.

Computer Vision Syndrome: The 14 Symptoms

  • Fatigued eyes
  • Sensitivity to glares
  • Discomfort for contact lens wearers
  • Eyestrain
  • Occasional blurred vision when viewing objects up-close
  • Occasional blurred vision when viewing objects from afar
  • Slow reaction when changing the focus of your eye
  • Dry eyes
  • Burning sensation in eyes
  • Color perception changes
  • Headaches
  • Redness in eyes
  • Tearing excessively
  • Sore feeling eyes

One way to stop suffering from Computer Vision Syndrome would be to get up and walk away from your computer forever. Still reading? Right… it’s just not a viable option for most of us.

Let’s go over six practical tips for keeping your eyes healthy and more comfortable when they’re stuck staring at a computer all day long.

1. Embrace Ergonomics

Ergonomics is a popular buzzword that means being gentle on your body. From finding the right chair to the right keyboard, it’s about being comfortable. Make sure your workstation is set up in a way that’s kind to your body and your eyes.

Try repositioning your monitor to avoid uncomfortable eye movements. A viewing distance of 18-28 inches is recommended, with your computer screen positioned around 4-9 inches below your eyes (as though you are reading a book). You should be able to sit comfortably straight with your feet flat on the ground. Your knees should be bent at 90 degrees and your elbows resting at 90 degrees.

2. Get Rid of Glare

Glare is a common cause of eye fatigue and strain. Your office may be harming your eyes if it’s not set up to reduce the amount of glare you encounter throughout your workday.

Whether you have a large window, a mirror, or a desk light, figure out where your glare is coming from and try to fix the problem. Try adjusting your blinds, getting a curtain, or dimming the lamp to reduce the amount of glare in your workspace.

Though you don’t want to work in the dark, increasing the amount of natural light and decreasing the brightness of artificial light will leave your eyes smiling a bit more! Move your desk or even your office (if possible) to reduce the amount of glare – get creative.

You could even think about buying a glare-reducing screen for your monitor. These screens often mitigate blue light, too, which could do wonders for your circadian rhythm. If you choose to, be sure to buy a screen that’s been approved by the American Optometric Association. This will make sure your screen is actually effective.

3. Screen Your Computer Screen

Just like books are black and white, computer screens should be too. Sadly, many of us are stuck staring at various colors all day long. We can reduce the ill effects on our eyes of color overload by adjusting the brightness/contrast controls on our computer monitors.

Use a larger text display size if that helps you to strain less and see better. A good text display size is three times larger than the smallest text size you can read. This will ensure your muscles don’t need to strain to make out the words.

You may even consider upgrading to a flat-panel computer monitor. They can be less of a workout for your eyes than the older CRT computer monitors that deteriorate over time.

4. Break It Up

When you’re working on a big project, time gets away from you. You may not realize that an hour or more has gone by without taking your eyes off your computer screen.

Try the 10-10-10 Rule: for every 10 minutes of work, be sure to look away from your computer screen for at least 10 seconds at something 10 feet away.

Blink often and find objects in the room to focus on. Stare out a window, and, once in a while,  go for a walk outside. Your eyes will thank you.

5. Stay Healthy

Fast food for lunch and cookies for dinner… sound familiar? Skipped the workout in favor of some couch time after a long day? Ever forget to take your contacts out? In today’s busy world, it’s easy to forget about proper ocular health and nutrition from time to time. Keeping up with good habits for your vision can do wonders for your eye health.

You may be able to prevent some eye problems by keeping a good diet and staying properly hydrated throughout the day. Eat foods that are rich in eye-important vitamin A, like carrots, and consider supplementing if your diet is lacking.

If you wear contact lenses, consider switching to glasses when you’re behind the computer to prevent contact-related dry eyes. Your glasses may also have anti-glare and anti-blue light films in them, which is an added bonus when you are working on screens.

6. Rest Up

Do something nice for your eyes occasionally. Try placing a cold washcloth across your eyes or even one of those flax and herb-soothing eye pillows. Close your eyes, breathe deeply, and just unwind.

Don’t use your work breaks to catch up on emails for your weekly book club. Actually use your breaks to give yourself, and your eyes, a break. Following these tips should give you some much-needed relief from computer vision syndrome and make your work day more manageable.

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Join or Start the Discussion

  1. Avatar for Tyler Sorensen Elizabeth Rosiles says:

    Mop can you write me on how you’re improving your vision?

  2. Avatar for Tyler Sorensen Sachin says:

    Is there is any way to cure myopic eye from 6/18 to 6/9 in three weeks.

  3. Avatar for Tyler Sorensen Wes says:

    I have been a pilot for over 30 years and have nevr had to wear glasses. I see that my eyes may be a little weaker these days. Let’s work together with your vitamins and exercises to be sure that I can maintain at least an FAA Class II medical.

  4. Avatar for Tyler Sorensen Atheeq says:

    I’ve tried exercises they are very good.Thanks for ur advice

  5. Avatar for Tyler Sorensen Melody says:

    Thank you. You are doing a great job.

  6. Avatar for Tyler Sorensen Lepakiyo says:

    Tyler,thank you so much fr your advice.I have tried the tips on here, they are very good.Thanks.

  7. Avatar for Tyler Sorensen gocollins says:

    really worthwhile advice shouid be taken seriously by all that spend time at a pc

  8. Avatar for Tyler Sorensen Noor says:

    This is one of the best articles I have ever read! The information regarding computer vision syndrome is really very helpful.

  9. Avatar for Tyler Sorensen gocollins says:

    great advice! as a physiotherapist from England i am dealing with cervical conditions from eye strain daily

  10. Avatar for Tyler Sorensen Danina says:

    thank you for the advice ever since i’ve been taking your advice my vision has been getting better i’ll be getting out of glasses in no time

  11. Avatar for Tyler Sorensen sandi says:

    thankz for this lovely advice…

  12. Avatar for Tyler Sorensen Hurry says:

    thank you for your advice

  13. Avatar for Tyler Sorensen Mop says:

    I do you know how to get better vision really fast because my eyedocctor appointment last year was bad I started last month then yesterday she said I need glasses I’m getting them soon but I don’t want to by glasses since my visions getting better

  14. Avatar for Tyler Sorensen Elizabeth Rosiles says:

    Can you write me on how you’re improving your vision? beli

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About the Author

Avatar for Tyler Sorensen

Tyler Sorensen is the President and CEO of Rebuild Your Vision. Formerly, Tyler studied Aeronautics (just like his brother) with the dream of becoming an airline pilot, however, after 9/11 his career path changed. After graduating top of his class with a Bachelor of Science in Informational Technologies and Administrative Management, he joined Rebuild Your Vision in 2002. With the guidance of many eye care professionals, including Behavioral Optometrists, Optometrists (O.D.), and Ophthalmologists (Eye M.D.), Tyler has spent nearly two decades studying the inner workings of the eye and conducting research.


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