Eye safety at the computer

Viewing a computer screen for a long time can cause eye strain. While symptoms are be different for each person, they may include:

  • Red, watery irritated eyes
  • Tired, aching or heavy eyelids
  • Problems focusing
  • Muscle spasms of the eye or eyelid
  • Headache
  • Backache

You can often relive symptoms by resting your eyes, changing your work environment and wearing the right glasses or contacts. The symptoms of eye strain may resemble other eye conditions. Talk to your doctor for diagnosis.

How is eye strain avoided?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has provided the following helpful suggestions for modifying your workstation to help avoid eye strain:

  • Position your video display terminal (VDT) slightly further away than where you normally hold reading material.
  • Position the top of the VDT screen at or slightly below eye level.
  • Place all reference material as close to the screen as possible to minimize head and eye movements and focusing changes.
  • Minimize lighting reflections and glare.
  • Keep the VDT screen clean and dust-free.
  • Schedule periodic rest breaks to avoid eye fatigue.
  • Keep the eyes lubricated (by blinking) to prevent them from drying out.
  • Keep the VDT screen in proper focus.
  • Consult your ophthalmologist, as some individuals who normally do not need glasses may need corrective lenses for computer work.