Eyestrain will erode your focus and sap your energy.

This is such an important health and wellbeing issue for everyone who works on computers or other similar devices. So, we’re relying on information supplied by ergonomics experts, Office Ergo (http://office-ergo.com/)*  to ensure that we’re bringing you the most up-to-date and accurate information possible.

They offer sound advice and information about eyestrain and what you can do to avoid it. Try and take the time to check out their website: it’s certainly worth a read if you are hopeful of working smarter and more comfortably this new year*.

Office Ergo claim that much of the strain we experience in our eyes, neck and even shoulders comes from the way we position things we read. And that includes both documents and devices.

But you also need to be aware that lighting and glare, bending and reaching all can work against you, as well.


1. Everyone is different

Eyestrain manifests in different ways to different people. It can be felt as burning, tightness, sharp pains, dull pains, watering, blurring, double vision, headaches and other sensations, depending on the person. In fact, if you experience any eye discomfort caused by viewing something, you can call it eyestrain.

2. At VDT workstations, we are affected by:

  • glare
  • the luminance (brightness) difference between what is being looked at and its immediate environment
  • the amount of light
  • the distance between the eye and the screen and document
  • the readability of the screen and document
  • the worker’s vision and his or her corrective lenses

3. Direct glare is a menace …

Direct glare comes off any light source that shines directly into your eyes. This may be from ceiling lights, task lights, or bright windows. Check by shielding your eyes with a hand and seeing whether you feel immediate relief.

4. … and reflected glare can be just as bad.

Reflected glare on computer screens can cause eyestrain.  But it can also have a worse and more insidious effect when you change the way you sit to avoid the glare and see better.

Sometimes you can adjust lights, close window blinds, use a monitor hood or reposition the monitor and keyboard to a better angle. But don’t “just put up with it”.  That’s something you’ll regret.


 5. The most overlooked cause of eyestrain in offices is contrast.

This is a bit of a sneaky one, most frequently manifesting as a dark screen surrounded by a bright background  – maybe a window or a lit wall.

Office Ergo says: “The best solution is to find a way to darken the area around the screen. This problem occurs mainly on screens with light letters on a black background. If you can’t darken the area around and behind the screen change the screen colors so the background color is lighter than the text colors.  Also try adjusting the monitor brightness and contrast controls.”

6. Eyes are strained more by close viewing than by distant viewing.

The ‘correct’ distance for computer monitors and documents is what suits you. You should try to keep all viewed materials (screens and documents) as far from you as possible, so long as they can be easily read.
Ref: Monitor Viewing Distance. Ankrum, D.R.

7. Focus on something too long and your eyes will tire.

Your eyes need to focus at different distances from time to time. A good plan is to follow the “20/20 rule” — every twenty minutes, look twenty feet away for twenty seconds.

8. Sometimes eyestrain is just a case of dry eyes. 

Blinking, using a lubricant spray and lowering the monitor can all help.  Looking downward means more of the eye surface is covered by the eyelid. That causes the eye to unconsciously blink more which in turn produces more natural lubrication.

9. Bifocals are not computer friendly.

People who need bifocals should consider other options which might include:

  • Dedicated computer glasses that focus at the right distance for the computer screen.
  • Wearing contact lenses — corrected for computer or reading distance in one eye, and for far distance (if needed) in the other eye.

*Windsor has no association whatsoever with this company.

Completing a  posture audit and  taking steps to avoid unnecessary eyestrain are simple tactics  that will see you set to start your working year on a high. There can be no excuses for something so important but so easy.


Neck and shoulder basics: 12 things you should know

  1. 1. The placement of your screen, documents, and devices largely determines  our neck and shoulder posture.  Your neck and shoulders will be up/ down/ twisted or reaching based on where you position your equipment.
  2. 2. Most people have the monitor too high. This causes dry eyes and considerable strain in the neck. Think about where you place magazines or papers when reading.  Probably about chest-height and angled with the top further away compared to the bottom.
  3. 3. Use the normal reading position for the monitor. The top of your screen should be eye-level or lower.  With the proper tilt/ angle (towards the eyes), the monitor can be quite low.
  4. 4. If you use bi-focal or tri-focal glasses the monitor may need to be considerably lower to prevent you from tipping your head up.
  5. 5. If the screen image is too small, or the monitor is too far away you will be hunched forward to read.  Zoom your documents larger, or try Ctrl & “+” to increase image size; try Ctrl & “-“to decrease image size.
  6. 6. Glare spots reflected off the screen or direct light shining in your eyes can cause you to bend or lean in weird positions.  This increases neck tension.
  7. 7. If your documents are flat on the desk and to the side of the keyboard you are bending and twisting the neck. Think drafting table; place your documents up on an angle to straighten the neck, place them near the monitor to limit twisting. An empty 3-ring binder serves well.
  8. 8. Reaching to the mouse, keyboard, or other supplies can cause strain. Working with the arm extended and unsupported can increases shoulder strain as much as 7 to 10 times. Place frequently-used items closer or find a place to support the arm.
  9. 9. If your Keyboard is too high you are probably working with tense shrugged shoulders. We recommend placing the keyboard relatively low, near your resting elbow height.
  10. 10. Elbows winged out to the side to reach for the arm rests? This can cause considerable strain to the shoulder muscles. See if the armrests can be adjusted in closer, or try working without using the armrests.
  11. 11. Are you a skinny thing with narrow shoulders? You may be rotating the arm/ shoulder to reach mouse -think windshield wiper motion.  Moving the arm out to use the mouse can over-work the small rotator cuff muscle in the upper shoulder blade. Consider a narrower keyboard or keyboard without a number pad to allow closer mouse placement, or a central pointing device.
  12. 12. Still have neck or shoulder discomfort? Look for possible suggestions and ideas in the eye strain link of this topic, or consult a professional ergonomist or a qualified health care provider.

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