If you spend hours a day in front of a computer screen (like me), and have experienced anything along the lines of: eyes burning, neck aching, vision blurring, or head throbbing, you might have a common problem known as eyestrain.
In medical terms it's called Computer Vision Syndrome, and it comes from a combination of your monitor's bright backlight, glare and staring at a screen for extended periods of time.
Quick fixes like ibuprofen and eye exercises will usually relieve eyestrain, but in my quest to resolve this issue, I went for a preventative approach.
After consulting trusty sources like the Mayo Clinic, I found that the following five tips were the most effective in preventing my Computer Vision Syndrome.
1. Adjust your monitor's position
A simple tweak to your monitor setup can go a long way in solving your eyestrain. For optimal comfort, your monitor should be 20-30 inches away from your eyes. Additionally, the top of your monitor should be at eye level, as you should be looking down at your work, not up.
If you need to raise your monitor, consider using risers, or even a stack of old hardcover books.
2. Tweak the lighting
An office setting with too much artificial or natural light can create monitor glare that quickly tires your eyes. So, if you can, turn off any harsh fluorescent lights and position your computer so that any natural light is coming in on either side of your monitor. Light should never be directed behind or in front of your screen.
Instead, use floor or desk lamps and position them on either side of your monitor so that they provide indirect lighting.
3. Use the 20-20-20 rule
Every 20 minutes, find an object about 20 feet away, and stare at it for 20 seconds. This trick from labnol.org is intended to exercise your eyes and give them a break from your monitor's bright backlight.
4.Try Gunnars glasses
Artificial light combined with natural light and your monitor's backlight puts unavoidable stress on your eyes. One solution to consider is Gunnar glasses.
These specialized glasses, mostly aimed at gamers, are tinted yellow to offset the cool blue light your monitor produces. They also offer slight magnification, making it easier to read text (even for those who don't normally wear reading glasses.)
They'll set you back about $80, but from my experience, they make a big difference. The glasses come in several styles and custom prescription models.
5. Use a setup that's easy on the eyes
When your work materials and tools are splayed out in different areas of your desk, you force your eyes to constantly readjust for their various distances. Fix this by putting your keyboard directly in front of your monitor, and your reading materials adjacent to it using a copyholder.