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Action stations about vision & computers, why computer screens, tablets & phones can cause visual problems.

Fifty years ago, our working lives generally involved some sort of physical activity. By contrast, many modern careers are office-based and rely heavily on electronic devices. The human body simply wasn’t designed for computer screens.These unnatural environments can induce a variety of minor sight-related issues. These typically range from eye strain and dryness caused by ongoing computer use, through to headaches and fatigue triggered by the subliminal blue light emitted by modern display devices.

Enjoying a healthy working environment requires co-operation from employers. Indeed, they have a duty of care to provide safe and optimised working conditions wherever possible. However, a few personal steps can also improve your wellbeing and eye health:

Optimise posture. To minimise any risk of strains or headaches, acquire a well-padded chair with adjustable height and lumbar support.

Experiment with the relative positions of your desk, chair, keyboard and monitor until you find a good balance.

Use equipment properly. Screens should be kept clean, eliminating any need to squint through a layer of accumulated dust or fingerprints that could induce tiredness or eye strain.

Larger monitors are easier to view than smaller ones, while display settings can be fine-tuned; turn down the brightness and increase font sizes if necessary.

Take breaks. Some people notice their vision deteriorates during the day as their eyes tire, so don’t spend hours staring fixedly at a screen.

High tech 3D Ocular Coherence Tomographer

Distance, posture and comfort are all important when using a computer monitor.

Take regular breaks, focusing your eyes on distant objects for a moment so the eye muscles can relax. Try to blink frequently, or apply eye drops a couple of times a day to maintain lubrication of the corneal surface. We can advise on what would be best for you.

Prescription strength. Your eyes will operate very differently when using a computer compared to driving or participating in sporting activities. Appropriately prescribed enhanced reading lenses may be necessary for some intermediate activities such as typing etc.

These become increasingly necessary, as our accommodation (ability to focus close up) decreases with age. If you would like any advice or more information on this topic please make an appointment and we’ll be happy to help.

Specialist coatings. Many lenses now have specialised ‘coatings’ incorporated as an integral part of the lens, making them more effective and longer lasting.

Anti-reflective lens coatings are now particularly beneficial in modern offices, and a pair of work glasses could be just as well-suited to reading the paper and browsing the internet at the weekend as they are to making your work tasks clear and comfortable through the week.

Did you know? Cathode-ray computer monitors were pioneered in the early 1960s, although it took almost two decades before standard office equipment could display colours and graphics.