Healthy Living: Keep Eye Strain at Bay

Working full-time in front of a computer is the norm these days, and it can be tough on our eyes. Headaches, eye strain, and dry eyes are all evidence of this new routine taking its toll on our vision. We look at a few adjustments you can make to alleviate fatigue and improve your ocular wellness.

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Viewing Distance
Several factors can cause you to experience some of the eye fatigue symptoms mentioned above. Luckily, many of the contributing factors are adjustable. The first thing to check is your viewing distance to your monitor. Sitting too close can encourage less frequent blinking and eventual dryness of your eyes. Set your screen at eye level and at a recommended distance of around 20 to 26 inches.

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Ambient Light
It's also important to consider the ambient light situation. Overhead fluorescents and bright ambient light can introduce glare that can cause focusing issues — making our eyes work overtime. Try to keep light diffused and more indirect in your workspace. Set a lamp to the side and diffused softly across a wall versus one shining directly down or toward you. Try to avoid harsh fluorescents and swap in more soft and natural bulbs.

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Prevent Dry Eyes
You may also find it handy to keep a travel-size bottle of rewetting drops at your desk. Take a break to lubricate and soothe your eyes when symptoms begin to present themselves. This tip can be especially helpful during allergy season.

Computer Reading Glasses
If you've addressed the common issues with appropriate lighting and ergonomics and still have eye fatigue symptoms there is one more avenue to explore — specialized computer reading glasses

We wrote about the Gunnar Optiks glasses that have made their way into the mainstream. Gunnar offers a specialized pair of frames that feature yellow-tinted lenses that claim to improve contrast. You can try these at a local Best Buy, but their aggressive styling and yellow tint may not be for everyone — especially if you spend a lot of time looking at images.

In search for our own eye fatigue solution we fittingly stumbled across Eyefatigue.com. This site offers straight-forward, no-frills computer glasses with 0.25 magnification at about the quarter of the cost of Gunnars. The 0.25 magnification or diopter is smaller than what you can typically find in reading glasses (1.00 diopter and up) — giving just the slightest nudge in magnification to make reading things in the two feet viewing range more comfortable. What we like most, though, is the choice for a more subtle green tint that has a less severe color shift on images we view on-screen (as shown in the image below). These features coupled with the anti-glare coating do a good job of alleviating the eye strain and fatigue and keep us running in the blogosphere a bit more happily.

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Let us know if you have found any computer reading glasses or eye strain solutions in the comments!

(Images: Chris Perez)