Sitting at the computer all day long is horrible for our health for many reasons. This is why I switched to a standing desk and make it a point to include physical activity in my daily schedule. Computer Vision Syndrome, or CVS for short, also plagues many individuals that spend their days staring at computer screens.
Wikipedia defines Computer Vision Syndrome as a condition resulting from focusing the eyes on a computer or other display device for protracted, uninterrupted periods of time. Some symptoms of CVS include headaches, blurred vision, neck pain, redness in the eyes, fatigue, eye strain, dry eyes, irritated eyes, double vision, vertigo/dizziness, polyopia, and difficulty refocusing the eyes.
According to the website Treat Headaches, there are several types of headaches associated with prolonged screen time. Here are 8 ways to avoid getting a headache while working on the computer.
1. Move your monitor back.
If your monitor is too close to your eyes, the brightness can cause headache. You don’t want to place it so far away that it causes you to strain your eyes, so here is a simple rule of thumb: sit back in your chair and reach out to touch your monitor. If you can touch it, then it’s too close to your eyes. Move it out of reach, but keep it close enough that you aren’t straining your eyes to read the screen.
2. Don’t hold mobile devices close to your eyes.
We naturally hold these devices close to our eyes when we use them, and with prolonged use it can cause us to experience headache. Make your font bigger and turn down the display brightness, and make an effort to hold them away from your eyes as much as possible.
3. Take 20 second breaks every 20 minutes.
Staring at something so close to you for hours at a time will not only cause headaches, it can also have a negative impact on your vision. The 20/20 rule is very simple: stop working every 20 minutes and focus on something in the distance for 20 seconds. Set an alarm on your phone to go off every 20 minutes to help you get into this routine. I recently spent a week straight coding the website for one of my new companies, Sexy Smile Kit, and I had to set alarms to remind me to give my eyes a break every 20 minutes.
4. Move your computer away from windows.
Glare caused by sunlight hitting your computer screen is a major cause of eyestrain, which in turn causes headache. Relocate your workstation away from windows if you can. If you can’t, simply use an adjustable blind. There are also several anti-glare screen covers that can be used in the event that you can’t block sunlight from a forward facing window.
5. Schedule routine appointments with your optometrist.
It’s a good idea for all people to schedule annual eye exams, but it’s even more important for those who work in front of a computer screen daily. This can help prevent problems before they get so severe that headaches are the result. Think of it as routine preventative maintenance.
6. Properly light your work area.
It’s a good idea to light your work area with desk and floor lamps that keep your area well lit without using direct light. You don’t want lights pointing directly in your line of vision, because this will cause discomfort and ultimately lead to headache. Indirect lighting is always the way to go.
7. Modify your display settings.
Modifying your display settings can reduce eye strain and fatigue. Turn down your brightness so it’s on par with your work area lighting. There is no need for your computer display to be brighter than your surroundings.
8. Adjust your display height.
A display’s optimal position for limiting eye strain is approximately five inches below your natural line of sight.