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Sun, Oct 22, 2017 03:20 AM
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue

Combat computer-induced eye strain


01/30/2008 - In a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Minnesota, high school kids were found to have drastically increased the amount of time they spent using a computer each week. High school boys spent over 15 hours a week using a computer in 2004, up from nearly 10.5 hours a week in 1999. High school girls over the same period of time saw their usage increase from 8.8 hours per week to just over 11.

While this may or may not lend credence to the notion that Americans are becoming more sedentary, another problem could also be resulting from so much time being spent in front of a computer. Too much time spent staring at a computer screen could potentially be very damaging to a person's vision, regardless of the person's age. To combat eye strain that might result from hours looking at a monitor, consider the following tips.

Keep your distance. Whether you use a desktop or laptop computer, maintain a distance of at least 20 inches between you and the monitor.

The need for speed. A slower computer will force you to spend more time staring at the screen. A faster computer will save you time and do less damage on your vision.

Keep the screen clean. A dirty computer screen can be akin to a dirty windshield on a car. With a dirty windshield, drivers are constantly straining to see the road in front of them. A dirty computer screen forces users to strain to see what they're trying to read. Keep your screen clean by giving it a daily dusting and cleaning any smudges or finger marks.

Catch up with the times. Older monitors don't boast the resolution of LCD monitors that have lower emissions and provide greater focus across the entire monitor. Most new computers are available with LCD monitors that, when compared to the damage they might cause on your vision, are well worth the extra money.

Sit up straight. Mom and Dad were right about the importance of maintaining good posture. Slouching or leaning forwards or backwards while sitting at a computer puts your eyes at a disadvantage, forcing them to strain to see the screen, even if you can't feel that strain. Sit up straight when using the computer and, if you use a laptop, don't keep the computer at an odd angle that makes it more difficult to see the screen.

Adjust brightness and contrast. Try to keep brightness and contrast levels as even as possible. Having a high brightness level and a low contrast level can prove harmful to your vision. Many computers have these levels set at the appropriate levels when you buy them, so you might not need to adjust anything on a new computer.

Keep things light. Reading a computer screen in a dark room makes it more difficult for your eyes to focus on what you're reading. Keep any room in which you're using a computer well-lit and don't rely solely on the light coming from your computer, regardless of how bright it might seem.

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