Computer Eye Issues

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Computer Eye Issues



Symptoms include eyestrain, headaches, itching and burning, a scratchy sensation, blurring of vision, doubling of vision, and color perception changes. Indirect symptoms can be: neck, shoulder, back and wrist pains, fatigue, and general stress, leading to lower job performance and decreased visual efficiency.

Computer-eye interactions put a heavy demand on our visual system, which has developed over millennia to serve humans in the role of hunters and gatherers. Only in the last century have we begun to rely on reading vision for survival. Heavy loads of close reading or computer work can induce distress with the eye.


A National Academy of Science report suggests that simply improving the ergonomic condition of the worker could reduce vision complaints by up to 39%. The computer work environment includes many factors that can be controlled, including lighting, user position, computer placement, noise, and air quality.




The issues concerning computer use and head and monitor positioning depends on several variables.

First, are you in the age group that requires bifocals? If not, you can probably use the computer monitor at most levels. Ideally you should have your monitor just above keyboard level. This prevents you from having to look at copy material and then shift your gaze to an extended distance away and refocus back on the same spot. It is more difficult to keep your place looking from one position to the other. Some have clear glass tops on the surface of their desks with the monitor below the glass, and the keyboard on a sliding keyboard rack. This is rather an ideal situation especially for those who wear bifocals. The use of bifocals requires that the head be tilted back in order to see the monitor. This causes the neck muscles in the back of the neck to shorten. If this position is held for a period of time, those muscles can bunch up and go into spasm. Occipital headaches are common in this syndrome. Many times simply putting the head down and pressing on the central neck muscles can relieve the problem, but continued use of a monitor that is too high, will make it difficult to relieve.

Second, those who have to wear bi or trifocals need to have the monitor as low as possible to keep them from bending their head and neck up.


Recommended Computer Working Distance:

20 inches (50 centimeters)

Recommended line of sight to the top of the screen:

20 degrees below horizontal*

Recommended line of sight to the bottom of the screen:

0 degrees below horizontal*

* For those who wear bifocals or trifocals, it is recommended that the monitor be placed below the level of the desktop.



Contrast and Brightness


Most monitors have contrast and brightness adjustments. Users who have to use a computer continuously through their entire work day generally prefer a moderate to bright contrast. This can be set to the users taste. There is no right or wrong in this issue. If you find that after using the monitor that your eyes tend to ach, try adjusting the contrast and brightness to a different zone.




Having a dark background with white or amber lettering is better than having a white background with dark letters. There is less extraneous light entering your eyes in this situation. Trial and error will give you the best results, as none of us are the same, and we all have different tastes and comfort levels. When giving a presentation with slides it is recommended to have a blue background. This applies to the monitors as well.


Size of Monitor


The larger the monitor, the larger the print becomes. Beyond a 19 monitor size, however, is unnecessary for ordinary work. Yet, if one is visually handicapped, larger is better.


Monitor Glare

If the monitor has an irritating reflection off of it from a light source, simply tilting the back of the monitor up may eliminate the problem. Another solution is the use of a polarizing filter over the monitor screen. These can be obtained from an office supply house.



Eye Strain


Eye strain is very common in those who use monitors over extended time periods. Eye strain can take many forms. A dull ach behind the eyes or aches in the temples are fairly common. It is important to be focused on your monitor. If you are below the age of forty, and wear glasses, you should generally be able to view your monitor without a reading correction.

If you find that the monitor print is fuzzy, try moving your head closer or farther away from the monitor. If the view comes into focus better in one of these positions, you may need to have a computer glass to help you focus at the correct distance. Your eye doctor can help you with this.

 If you are nearsighted, and are approaching forty to forty five, simply taking off your glasses when doing computer work may help. A through eye exam with your comments of eye strain can be of benefit.

If you go to your doctor and expect him/her to know what problems you have without you telling them,  they will not know that this requires special attention. Most ophthalmologists and optometrists rely on what the individual says . This allows us to help you with your specific problem.




Another aspect of eye strain is related to concentration. When we concentrate on something, our blink rate is greatly reduced. The eye surface is kept wet by a regular blink rate. If the blink rate is insufficient, the surface will dry out. The results can cause a number of symptoms. Red eyes, sometimes itchy eyes, burning eyes, heavy feeling of not being able to keep the eyelid open, and blurring are just some of the symptoms. Concentrating on blinking every three to four seconds is the normal blink rate. Sometimes an artificial tear can greatly benefit. The artificial tear should be somewhat viscous, to allow it to stay on the eye for a period of time. Manufacturers of these tears are myriad. Some of these that are my favorites are Refresh Endura, Refresh , Refresh Plus, Thera Tears, Tears Natural Free, Bion Tears, and Systane. If you have a true dry eye problem, as do a large percentage of the population in the dryer climes, such as Denver, a plugging of the openings that take the normal tear production into the nose is possible. A prescription medication that caused more tear production is Restasis. 


Dangerous Symptoms |  Laser Surgery |  Site Map | Meet Our Doctors  |  Map  | Forms | Photos 

 Home | Patient Education | Patient Instructions | Laser FAQ | Cataract FAQ | About Our Doctors
Pfoff Laser and Eye, 6881 South Yosemite Street | Centennial, Colorado 80112 | 303-588-7900|