Are you concerned about your vision? Do you spend much of your day working at the computer, watching television and reading books? If so, the 10-10-10 rule is something you should implement throughout your day. The rule is simple; every time you spend more than 10 minutes straining your vision, you need to look away and focus on an object at least 10 feet from you. Hold your gaze there for ten seconds and then return to what you were doing. If you get in the habit of doing this now, you can help your eyes stay healthy for a long time!
Do You Have an Office Job?
If you work in an office, chances are you spend a lot of time in front of the computer. While the machine can certainly help you get a lot accomplished, staring at the screen all day can take a toll on your vision. The American Optometric Association notes that some of the symptoms associated with Computer Vision Syndrome are tired eyes, blurry vision (up close or far away) and headaches. In addition, some sufferers complain of red eyes, dry eyes, sore eyes, burning eyes or eyestrain. Finally, glare sensitivity, lots of tearing, uncomfortable contact lenses, issues with color perception and focus difficulties are all common as well.
If these symptoms sound familiar, it is important to learn all you can about CVS. Of course, stepping away from the computer and reducing your usage will help alleviate your symptoms. However, if your livelihood depends on the work you do, that is simply not an option. There are a few other things you can try, however.
1. Cut back on glare.
Tired eyes are often the result of improper office lighting. To cut back on glare, first examine your space. Figure out where the glare is coming from; the windows are a likely culprit, as is the computer screen. Once you determine the source of the glare, see if you can eliminate it. For example, installing a few blinds in your office cuts back on the amount of sunlight that streams in. Leaving the lights off during the day can also help. However, if you decide to do that, make sure there is still enough natural light in the space. Your computer monitor generates light, and you do not want there to be too much contrast between your screen and your office environment. If there is, it will hurt your eyes.
Consider moving your desk so that you are not facing the window. You also want to avoid being directly under bright overhead lights. Instead, position your desk just to the side of the window or the overhead light. That is often the best spot to reduce glare and reflections.
Finally, while task lights come in handy, they can also make things hard on your eyes. Use a bulb with low wattage, and ensure the light does not shine right on the computer or your face. Your eyes will thank you.
2. Get up and move around.
Many workers find they get in a zone while working on the computer. It is easy for time to slip away unnoticed. However, the 10-10-10 rule should always be at the forefront of your mind. If you find you can’t break quite that often, at least stop every hour and give yourself a short, ten minute break. Step away from the computer, blink your eyes and allow your head to clear.
3. Establish an ergonomic work space.
Just because you are in the office doesn’t mean you can’t take care of your body. Simple changes make your work environment more comfortable for you and easier on your eyes. For example, turn your monitor so that you don’t have to crane your neck or your eyes to see what you are doing. Your eyes often dictate what your body does; your body is going to adjust itself so that your eyes can see well. That means you might unconsciously twist your back or your neck so that your eyes can do their work. Ensure your monitor is about a foot and a half from you, and place it so that it is straight in front of your face. In addition, rather than looking up at the monitor, you should be looking down. That is the best position for your eyes.
4. Make screen adjustments.
When you type in Word, the default is a white background with black letters. That is because visibility is best this way. Take a cue from your writing program and try and set your computer up so that you are working with a white background and black characters as often as possible. If that can’t be done, simply try to set it up so that there is a large contrast between your background color and your character color. Also, you don’t want your background to be too dark.
Do you have a flat panel monitor? If so, you have an advantage over people using a cathode ray tube display. The screen has better contrast and usually does not flicker. Plus, CRT displays gets worse with time, although it is hard to tell that when you have nothing to compare it to. If you have a CRT display at work, think about getting an upgrade. Doing so should cut back on your CVS symptoms and make it easier for you to get your work done.
Remember, you can control how bright your screen is and how big the text is as well. Make sure you do not have to strain to see what you are writing. If anything, make the text a little bigger than you think you need.
5. Give your eyes a break.
Once you get home, take some time just for your eyes. Go upstairs, run some cold water over a washcloth and lay it on your face for ten minutes. You’ll feel refreshed when you get up to go about your business again.
6. Be healthy.
Itchy, irritated eyes can make it difficult to get through the day. Instead of relying on over the counter medication, try to stay hydrated. In addition, add beta-carotine rich foods to your diet. These foods are good for your eyes and can help them avoid fatigue. Finally, if you continue to experience dry eyes and you wear contacts, think about switching to glasses when you are on the computer.
There are a number of things you can do to alleviate your CVS symptoms. Above all else, though, remember the 10-10-10 rule!