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Computer Eye Strain
Despite the modern conveniences of computers and word processors, the modern writer faces more risks and potential discomfort from their writing than their predecessors did. While keyboards make it easier for our fingers to keep up with our thought processes, they can cause strain to our bodies that accumulates with time and leaves us with pain anywhere from our neck and shoulders down through our hands and fingers. Monitors that display our creative endeavors in such easy to read fonts are actually harder on our eyes than trying to read our own sometimes sloppy script.
A quick trip around the Internet revealed many sources of information about RSI (repetitive strain injury) and computer eye strain. Many of the recommendations for relieving eyestrain can also benefit RSI symptoms but for this article, I will be concentrating on how to relieve our tired and aching eyes.
How do you know if you're suffering from computer-induced eyestrain?
One of the first signs most people notice is dry and irritated eyes but eyestrain can also make it difficult to focus when you look away from the computer. It can blur your vision and make colors appear muddy. It may be accompanied by neck and should pain as well as headaches.
There are several factors that contribute computer-induced eyestrain. One that may seem unlikely is the difficulty the human eye has in focusing on print on a computer screen. It would seem that with the clear fonts available to work with that reading from a screen would be easier on our eyes than trying to read someone's cramped or scribbled writing. But words on paper have clearly defined edges while computer generated images are made up of pixels. These pixels are brighter in the center and fade toward the edges, making it harder for our eyes to focus on the font.
One suggestion for dealing with this issue is to visit an eye doctor who specializes in computer vision problems to see if a pair of computer glasses would be beneficial. However, finding a doctor who can prescribe these specialized glasses can be difficult and the glasses themselves are not cheap. Fortunately there are other ways to help reduce eyestrain that may save your wallet.
Bright white walls behind your computer can contribute to glare due to the amount of light hitting these reflective surfaces. Walls are best painted darker matte colors and ambient lighting should be kept darker than average when you're spending a lot of time at your computer.
Posture and Distance
Every twenty minutes, look past your computer and focus on something that is at least 20 feet away (7 meters). The reason for this is your eyes need to focus on different distances periodically in order to maintain top effectiveness. However, keep the distance between your monitor and the copy you're working from as close as possible. You do not want to have to refocus every time you glance from screen to paper.
Monitor Resolution and Clarity
To protect your eyes and discuss your own eyestrain issues, have your eyes examined by a qualified eye doctor once a year. Visit the following sites for more information:
© Copyright 2004 Tina Morgan
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