Computer Eye Strain: How to Relieve It

Computer Eye Strain: How to Relieve It

With the correct eye care program that includes eye exercises, and proper diet and supplementation, you can significantly effect and even improve your vision.


More than 50 percent of computer users experience eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision and other visual symptoms related to sustained use of the computer. This type of stress on the visual system can also cause body fatigue and reduced efficiency at work.

In addition, there are now indications that heavy computer users are at risk for glaucoma.

Many of these symptoms can be reduced through a combination of correcting workstation conditions, posture, stress-relieving lenses prescribed specifically for computer operation and simple eye exercises.

We were born to have hunters’ eyes, needed for spotting game or danger at a distance. But during the last 50 years nearly all our work and much of our recreation, for example, video games, has shifted the focus of our vision to arm’s length. This increased amount of near visual tasks often produces such changes as nearsightedness, suppressed vision in one eye, poor eye teaming and reduced efficiency at work and at play.

Many computer users experience visual stress due to: 1) an increase in the number and complexity of necessary eye movements and focusing skills, 2) poor lighting conditions, glare and distracting reflections, 3) screen flicker rate, and 4) above all, the extended amount of computer use.


The following is a Computer Stress Checklist:

Computer visual stress may underlie many direct and indirect symptoms. Eyestrain is a common direct symptom, while the need for shifts in posture and muscular strain resulting from poorly arranged work stations cause eye problems indirectly and other physical problems directly.


Direct Computer Stress Symptoms

  • Headaches while doing or following computer use
  • Irritated and/or dry eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Slow refocusing when looking from screen to distance objects
  • Frequently losing place when moving eyes between copy and the screen
  • Difficulty seeing clearly at a distance after prolonged computer use
  • Occasional doubling of vision
  • Changes in color perception
  • Changes in glasses prescription


Other Computer Stress Symptoms

  • Neck or shoulder tension and pain
  • Back pain
  • Pain in arms, wrists, or shoulders when working on the computer
  • Lowered visual efficiency and more frequent errors
  • LapTop Recommendations


DeskTop Work Station Recommendations

  • The computer screen should be slightly below eye level (about 20 degrees). Copy should be at the same level as the screen.
  • Locate keyboard so your wrists and lower arms are parallel to the floor.
  • Chairs should provide proper back support and be adjustable
  • Adjust the chair height so your feet are flat on the floor with thighs parallel to the floor
  • Adjust the worktable so legs and knees clear it’s underside
  • The screen brightness and contrast should be adjusted by the operator for the maximum viewing comfort
  • The workstation lighting should provide a 10:3 ratio: screen characters 10 times brighter than the screen background; room illumination 3 times brighter than screen background
  • Each workstation should have an adjustable shaded copy lamp that can be aimed by the operator without causing screen reflections
  • Eliminate glare and screen reflections by moving or tilting the computer or getting an anti-glare screen.
  • Try not to face toward windows or bright light sources
  • Operators should face into an open space beyond the computer screen
  • Clean the screen regularly as they attract dust
  • Short, frequent breaks are better than longer, less frequent breaks. Try 2-3 minutes every 15-20 minutes, 5 minutes every 30 minutes, or 10 minutes every hour.
  • Speak to your eye doctor regarding prescription computer glasses which reduce strain on the eyes

Eye Exercises

Exercise Your Eyes Total Vision Workout System – patented electronic vision trainer clinically proven to improve overall visual performance in less than 10 minutes a day.


Exercise 1

Palming: The palming exercise will teach you to relax your eyes, which in turn will bring healthy energy to your eyes.

First, rub your hands together until they feel warm (about 15 to 20 seconds). Then place your cupped hands over your closed eyes, being careful not to touch your eyes with the palms of your hands. The fingers of each hand should overlap and rest gently on the center of your forehead. Don’t create any unnecessary pressure on your face. If your arms get tired, rest your elbows on a table.

Sit quietly for one to two minutes with your hands over your eyes. The more relaxed you become, the blacker the darkness you will see with your eyes closed.


Exercise 2

Near-far focus – this exercise improves eye flexibility:

Hold your thumb six inches from your nose. Focus on your thumb. Take one deep breath and exhale slowly. Then focus on an object about 10 feet away. Take another deep breath and slowly exhale. Repeat back and forth 15 times


Exercise 3

Scanning – this exercise helps you increase the flexibility of your eyes.

Sitting or standing at one end of a room, let your eyes scan around the edges of objects in the room – clocks, televisions, doors, lights, computers, etc. The object of this exercise is to keep your eyes moving in a loose and fluid way. Do this exercise for two minutes. Remember to breathe.


Exercise 4


Place a bowl of hot water and a bowl of cold water in front of you. The hot water should be hot but not so hot that it burns you. The cold water should be ice cold, so either put ice cubes in it or get it out of the refrigerator. Put a wash cloth in each bowl. Place the wash cloth from the bowl of hot water against your closed eyes for 30 seconds. Then do the same with the wash cloth from the bowl of cold water. Continue to alternate the hot and cold wash cloths. Finish by gently massaging your closed eyes with a dry towel. Do this for two minutes.


Exercise 5

Head Rolls – this exercise is to relax your neck, head and face muscles and reduce shoulder tension.

Take a deep breath and close your eyes. On the exhale, slowly drop your chin to your chest. Relax your neck and shoulders. As you inhale deeply again, slowly and gently roll your head around to the left, then back, keeping your shoulders still and relaxed. Make your movements slowly, carefully and deliberately. Now exhale full as you roll your head to the other side and down to your chest again. Repeat this sequence twice then change directions and repeat twice more.


Your Eye Examination For Computer Use

Due to the unique characteristics and high visual demands of computer work, computer users should have a comprehensive eye examination periodically. Your examination should include:


A general eye and health history

  • A specific history relating to computer work. Be prepared to describe the type of computer work you do, the number of hours, the time of day you usually work on the computer, the size, type and color of your screen and screen characters, positions and work distances in your workstation, the lighting in the room, and the type severity and frequency of any symptoms you’re having.
  • A measurement of your visual acuity at distance and near
  • Do an evaluation of your internal and external eye health
  • A measurement of possible prescriptions for distance and near working distances
  • An assessment of eye focusing ability
  • An evaluation of eye coordination and eye movement skills
  • If the results of your examination indicate your eye doctor may do additional tests based on your specific needs.

More information on computer eye strain and recommendations

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