YOUR HEALTH: Keep an eye on computer screen effects

Like it or not, computers have become an important part of our lives. It’s important to be aware, however, of the difficulties they can cause with our eyes.

Think about your computer use – specifically the amount of time spent staring at a screen and how your workstation is designed.

If you experience any symptoms after extended periods of computer use, including blurred vision; tired, red, watery or itchy eyes; headaches or even neck aches, schedule an appointment with your optometrist.

A complete eye examination will determine the cause of your symptoms. Even small refractive errors (nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism or presbyopia) can affect how efficiently and comfortably you can work at a computer screen.

You might benefit from eyeglasses or contact lenses to correct your vision or, especially if you’re over 40, you may need multi-focal (progressive) lenses to help you see the various distances at your workstation.

Many lens manufacturers now offer glare-reducing, “task specific” lenses specifically designed for computer use.

People tend to blink less than half as often as normal when using a computer, making dry eyes a common complaint. Your optometrist may provide lubricating eye drops, or even just recommend more blinking!

Here are two more eye-saving tips:

Take frequent breaks. Remember the 20-20-20 rule – every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and focus on something 20 feet away.

Lighten up. Your room lighting should be the same brightness as your computer screen, so don’t stare at your monitor in a dark room.

Visit your optometrist regularly for a complete evaluation of your eyes and their alignment. Doing so will not only allow you to enjoy many hours of computer use, but it will also help ensure a lifetime of good vision.


Dr. Adam Reid is an optometrist with Mosaic Vision Care in Courtenay. To make an appointment, call 250-334-4512 or visit

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