Causes, Cures and Exercises to Relieve and Prevent Computer Eye Strain for Good

It has been said that ‘the eye is the window to the soul.’ Our eyes is also our window to the world, and for those who spend long hours in front of their computer monitor every day, the eye plays a crucial role in their livelihood. If you’re one of the millions of people all around the world who sits in your desk all day working on your computer, the most often than not, you have encountered eye strain and know how it badly affects your performance and productivity. Eye strain is never a good, unfortunately for computers users, the risk of computer-related eye strain is usually high. Here at Dual Monitor’s Guide, we will talk about the causes of computer eye strain and the way to relieve and prevent it for good.

Eye strain is a very common problem, from watching TV, driving, and using computers. Those who sit on their desk and work in front of their computer for long hours, every day suffer a lot from this condition. It may seem a very simple problem that can be solved by closing your eyes and resting, but serious recurring eye strain problem can lead into long term conditions such as Myopia, where the eye can’t sharply see and identify distant objects.


But what exactly is eye strain and how prolonged computer use can increase its risk?


Eye strain is essentially caused by straining one or more eye muscles. The most common eye muscle that gets affected is the ciliary body, the muscle in our eyes responsible for accommodation. This muscle is strained when kept in one position for extended period of time. In simpler terms, eye strain is caused by concentrating your sight on one thing or one distance for extended period of time.


Common Causes of Eye Strain

The eye usually stains easily if focused on near distances as opposed to far distances. This is why it is always good to switch your focus on objects from different distance. Examples of common activities that cause the muscles of our eyes to strain include driving, watching TV, reading, even pitching a baseball or softball. But the most common of them all is prolonged computer used.


Environmental Factors that Triggers Eye Strain

The environment also plays a huge part in causing eye strain, some of these environmental factors include fluorescent lighting, low light levels, bad viewing angle, brightness, low screen contrast levels, and glares, poor ergonomics and bad computer/workstation setup.


Personal Factors that Affects Chances for Eye Strain

Stress, fatigue, tiredness, bad posture, alcohol and drug consumption and poor and uncorrected vision also causes eye strain.


While there are many causes and triggers that increases the risk of eye strain, computer use is still the most common cause of eye strain today. This is because of the nature of work most of us exposes our self. With these things in mind, here are five simple tips to prevent eye strain.


Tips to Prevent Computer Eye Strain

Shift Your Focus from Time to Time

The best way to prevent eye strain is to not get it in the first place, and this means not focusing your sight in one particular direction or object in an extended period of time. This may be difficult to do, especially for computer users. Fortunately, our eyes have more than one set of muscles, this means we can rest one set and use the other. You can do this by shifting your focus – from near to far – on a regular basis. Shifting focus means looking at objects from close to at least 20 feet away. If you’re working on a computer, your best option is to look at outside your window.


Reduce Computer Monitor’s Glare

Reducing your computer monitor’s glare will dramatically improve the chances against eye strain. Glossy monitor screens put up the best colors and most vivid images, making them the best for choice for your entertainment system - watching movies and playing games. However, they are not good for brightly lit working environment, as they cause too much reflections and glares. Matte-coated monitors on the other hand, don’t make the best color quality, but they are best for office work and prolonged computer use. Check out Dual Monitors Guide’s breakdown on Glossy vs Matte Monitor (insert internal link) to find out which one will work best for you.

Also, make sure to set your computer screen at 90° angle from any direct light source. You can also use indirect or reflective lighting whenever possible, or use protective computer screen filter (anti-glare technology) to minimize the chances of glares and reflection. 3M PF19.0W Widescreen Monitor Screen Filter is an excellent privacy monitor screen filter with anti-glare properties.


Adjust Computer Contrast

Make sure your computer monitor and your lighting environment are set on the right contrast setting. Most contrast makes screen’s edges more discernible, saving your eyes from the stress of focusing too much. However, too much contrast with the surrounding area can also cause problems to your peripheral vision. Thus, it is important to keep overall lighting in your environment at moderate level for good contrast. Using a task lighting to aid eyesight for specific tasks is also a great idea.

Make sure to adjust your computer monitor at the right contrast level. You can also wear eye glasses with UV protection or sunglasses with polarized lenses, these eye-friendly accessories cuts down glares and increase contrast naturally.


Adjust Color in Both your Computer Screen and Work Environment

Adjusting your monitor’s color will not only give you better picture quality for your images, but also treat your eyes with eye-friendly monitor. Make sure to use full spectrum lighting, such as sunlight, as it covers the visual spectrum, making things easier to see. Choose monitors with better color management. Some monitors out there even allow color temperature adjustment. One good example for this is Asus VS229H-P – a straight-up business monitor with high color fidelity and impressive viewing angles. It’s also good monitor for both gaming and watching movies, and can be tool for photographers and even graphic designers looking for cheap display solutions.

For your work environment, use a combination of fluorescent and incandescent lighting. GE for example, has a bulb called “Reveal” which dramatically improves the color spectrum of incandescent bulbs. Also, full spectrum lighting comes with an added benefit of fighting off ‘winter blues.’


Exercise and Strength Your Eyes

(image from WikiHow)

As said earlier, eye strain is usually caused by straining one set of eye muscle by focusing on one object for extended period of time. With that said, it is important to strengthen your eye muscles. Strengthening your eye muscles that are responsible for focus is important for preventing eye strain. Check out these eye exercises from WikiHow to learn more.

The key to doing eye exercises is to relax your eyes as if you’re meditating. It doesn’t have to be stressful for your eyes. This makes Yoga eye exercise the best way to relax your eye and refresh your vision.


Bottom Line

As said earlier, there are tons of factors that affects our eyes’ health, and eye strain for one, can be caused by many different things. But one thing is certain, computer eye strain is caused by stress in your eyes. Luckily for you, there are also tons of things you can do to combat this condition for good. This is where having a good workspace gets into the picture. It is important that you have a good computer workstation that caters your body’s ergonomic needs. LCD arms, Desk mounts, wall mounts, and workstations can definitely help improve your workspace’s comfort and ergonomics. Check out Dual Monitors Guide for more ergonomic solutions today!

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