Computer Ergonomics - Avoiding MSD and RSI

Preventing Eye Strain

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Introduction
What Is MSD & RSI?
Preventing MSD/RSI
Preventing Eye Strain
Healthful Work Habits
Safety & Comfort Checklist (Summary)
Copyright © 2012-2017 by Matthew S Harris

Matthew S Harris is a software & database designer, contract programmer & consultant.

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Eye strain is not an MSD or RSI. Eye strain and fatigue are, however, a common experience for people who spend long periods looking at a monitor display — preventing eye strain is an important topic when discussing how to improve your well-being while working or playing at your computer.

Follow these general guidelines to help reduce eye strain and fatigue:

The remainder of this section discusses two common eye strain problems: dry eyes, and reflections/glare from the monitor screen.

Dry Eyes

When you look at a computer monitor screen, the rate at which you blink your eyes (blink-rate) goes down.

This can cause a great deal of discomfort during long periods of computer use. With a lowered blink-rate, your eyeballs are moistened less frequently, and are likely to begin feeling irritated. This drying effect may be especially noticeable to persons wearing contact lenses.

To alleviate this extra drying, try massaging the outer corners of your eyes to help lubricate them, and take frequent breaks from looking at your monitor. If you wear contact lenses, you can use an eye lubricant approved by your vision-care specialist.

Reducing Reflections & Glare

To reduce or eliminate the most common causes of eye strain - reflection and glare - you need to pay attention to both how you place your equipment and how you light your work area.

Basically, any strong light source behind you will cause reflections and reflected glare on your monitor screen. A strong light source in front of you will cause glare, and make it difficult to see the image on your monitor.

You need to position your monitor and/or alter the room lighting to avoid glare or bright reflections on the monitor screen.

In general, placing your screen at right angles to strong light sources (such as a window) will eliminate or reduce reflections from that light source. (This means the side of the monitor enclosure is facing the bright light source.)

If an overhead light source is causing reflection/glare, you can often use the monitor's tilting feature to eliminate the problem - tilt the monitor forward or back to change its angle in relation to the offending light source and eliminate the glare.

Other tips to help arrange the lighting, or arrange the monitor in relation to lighting:

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