YOUR VISION & COMPUTERS
A GUIDE TO PROTECTING YOUR EYES
With so many of us spending time in front of the computer and televisions every day it's no surprise that research is showing a rise in visual problems.
What can you do?
It's important to find out how you can protect your eyes through eye health exams and by making a few minor changes in your computer viewing habits.
See the information to the right for detailed tips and information.Content on this page courtesy of
Canadian Association of Optometrists
THE CONNECTION BETWEEN COMPUTERS AND EYE PROBLEMS:
Being far or near-sighted, having astigmatism or wearing bifocals, trifocals or progressive lenses can all make computer use less comfortable and efficient. Depending on your condition, your eyes could exert extra focusing effort or be forced to work harder to maintain a clear image on the screen. The results are eye strain and fatigue.
Your Optometrist is your first line of defense in comfortable computing The first thing you need to do to ensure comfortable and efficient computer use is to visit your optometrist for a thorough and painless eye health exam. Your doctor of optometry needs to know:
- how many hours a day you use a computer or VDT
- the distance from your eyes to your screen
- the overall set up of your workstation and your main work tasks
- the type and location of lighting in your computer area
HELPFUL TIPS TO TAKE THE STING OUT OF COMPUTER USE
Positioning is everything
Correct positioning of your computer, keyboard and typing copy is essential. Your screen should be positioned about an arm's length from your eyes and 20 degrees below eye level. Consider foot and wrist rests for added comfort.
Lighting can make all the difference
Room lighting should be diffuse, not direct, to reduce glare and reflections from your screen. Look into an internal or external glare screen and be sure to set your colour, contrast and brightness levels to suit you.
A little extra help for your glasses
Anti-reflective coatings on the lenses of your glasses can be applied by your optometrist to reduce discomfort and to ease reduced vision from bright and/or flickering light sources such as VDTs and fluorescent lights. And don't forget, your doctor of optometry can talk to you about eyeglasses designed specifically for people who use computers a lot.
Take time out, our 20-20-20 rule
Taking a break from your work isn't just a nice idea, it's essential to the health and comfort of your eyes. Optometrists recommend the 20-20-20 rule� every 20 minutes take a 20 second break and focus your eyes on something at least 20 feet away (the coffee machine possibly!). This will give your eyes a much-needed break and reduce some of the symptoms mentioned earlier.
It's all in the blinking
Did you know that on average we blink 12 times per minute? But wait, did you know that when we're on the computer we only blink 5 times per minute? That can add up to dry eyes. Relieve the discomfort by using artificial tear drops or gels and remember to blink!
Work or play, when it comes to computers think eye health!
Remember, whether you're watching television, working at a computer or playing at one, your eyes need you to take care of them. Visit an optometrist and keep your surfing time, or your working time, comfortable. Talk to an optometrist today, your eyes will thank you.
Your Eyes and Vision: TV & Vision
Eye care experts generally agree: Watching television will not harm your eyes or vision if the TV room is lit properly and if you follow a few viewing tips. In fact, there is usually less strain involved in TV viewing than in doing close work such as sewing or reading. But TV watching for long stretches of time can leave your eyes fatigued.
What are the best conditions for TV viewing?
A normally lit room, suitable for general activities, is best. Excessively bright lighting tends to reduce contrast on the screen and "wash out" the picture. No lights should be placed where glare or reflections will be seen in or near the television screen. Strongly coloured lighting should not be used and surroundings should be neutral in colour.
Is it all right to watch television in a dark room?
This situation is not ideal. When the room is totally dark, the contrast between the television screen and the surrounding area is too great for comfortable and efficient vision. When the room is softly illuminated, undesirable high contrast is kept to a minimum.
Is it better to adjust the television set to room lighting or room lighting to the set?
Adapt the set's brightness and contrast to room lighting - not room lighting to the set - after the room lights have been turned on.
Is it all right to wear sunglasses while watching television?
Generally, no. Sunglasses may shut out too much light for good vision. If worn when not needed, they tend to make it difficult for the viewer to adapt promptly to normal light levels. If you are bothered by brightness, consult with an eye care practitioner about the possible need for lenses more appropriate to TV viewing.
Possible difficulties with TV viewing
Children sometimes sit close to the set. Does this hurt their eyes? While close-up viewing is certainly not recommended, it is generally not harmful. Viewing at a distance allows for picture details to appear sharper and better defined and the television lines and defects will be less apparent. If your child persists in watching television from a short distance, have his or her vision checked. Nearsighted (myopic) children like to sit close to the screen.
What does it mean if the eyes water or if there is other visual discomfort while watching television?
It could indicate a problem that needs professional attention. Some viewers, especially those over 50 years old, may find relief with special glasses for television viewing. Discomfort could also indicate that the drainage passages which drain tears from the eyes into the nose are partially blocked and require examination.
What about colour television for viewers with colour vision deficiencies?
Colour deficiency (i.e. colour blindness) is generally not a barrier to enjoying colour television. However, viewers with colour deficiencies may disagree with others as to the "proper" colour adjustment. A colour TV picture properly adjusted for most people may appear too green to a protanomalous (weak red) observer, or too red to a deuteranomalous (weak green) viewer. When the set is adjusted to "correct" its colour, the resulting picture is usually unsatisfactorily tinted for other viewers. Viewers who are severely colour deficient, the so-called "red blind" or "green blind," will see little or no difference in widely different colour mixtures, and will not be bothered by most colour adjustments.
TV viewing tips:
- Make sure your television set is properly installed and the antenna properly adjusted.
- Place the set to avoid glare and reflections from lamps, windows and other bright sources.
- Adjust brightness and contrast controls to individual and/or viewer's taste and comfort.
- Have the set at approximately eye level. Avoid having to look up or down at the picture.
- Avoid staring at the screen for lengthy periods. Briefly look away from the picture, around the room or out the window.
- Wear lenses prescribed for vision correction, if advised to do so by your eye care practitioner.