Health Information

Eye Care Essentials for Computer Users

If you spend hours each day working at a computer screen, you may suffer from eyestrain, blurred vision, itchy eyes, and occasional double vision.

However, studies have found no sign that working on a computer screen causes permanent vision problems. Short-term problems, like tired, irritated, or watery eyes, do bother many people who work at computers. These problems can usually be corrected by wearing a special pair of glasses for computer work. Also, adjusting lighting in the workplace, using nonprescription artificial tears, and/or changing the position of the computer screen can help. 

Correct vision problems

One of the easiest ways to prevent eye tiredness and discomfort is to see a vision specialist.

Minor visual problems, like astigmatism or imbalances between the eyes, can be fixed by wearing lenses. The correct lenses will greatly increase your comfort. If you don't have to see distant objects clearly while at the computer, wearing bifocal lenses with the top adjusted for the computer screen and the bottom adjusted for reading is best.

If your distance vision must be clear while working at the computer, bifocal lenses with the upper part adjusted for distance and a large bottom part adjusted for the computer is recommended. A progressive lens with a large middle section for computer work is another choice.

Some people can comfortably use bifocal contact lenses when working at a computer. In most cases, glasses will provide greater comfort and clearer vision.

Increase your comfort

The following steps can help to reduce your eye discomfort and fatigue:

  • Place the computer straight in front of you, not off to the side.

  • Place the screen at right angles to any windows to reduce glare.

  • Fix the screen angle to reduce reflections from overhead lights or desk lamps.

  • Use drapes, shades, or blinds to control window lighting and glare. Vertical or horizontal blinds will direct light away from you and the computer.

  • Keep the screen brightness the same or brighter than the brightness of other objects in the room.

  • Set your computer to show black characters on a white background.

  • Use a flexible copyholder to keep reference material at the same height and distance away from you as the computer screen. This does away with the need to change eye focus when looking from one to the other.

  • Use a filter that reduces glare to enhance screen contrast and increase character legibility. Use a computer hood that has 3 sides if glare continues to be a problem.

  • Wipe the screen often with an anti-static cloth.

  • Take rest breaks. Every 15 minutes or so, look up and focus on a distant object for about 2 minutes. Blinking frequently and using artificial tear eye drops to relieve dryness and irritation can also help.