Blink frequently while sitting in front of your monitor to reduce the risk of dry eyes from prolonged computer use, said an optometrist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).
"Many work in front of a computer all day and this can leave vision vulnerable to problems like dry eyes, eyestrain and other problems that may signal computer vision syndrome," said Keshia Sims Elder, assistant professor in the UAB School of Optometry. "Blinking keeps the front surface of the eye moist."
There are other ways to protect sight and avoid computer vision syndrome, Elder said. In addition to blinking, computer users should:
- Have a regular comprehensive eye exam to ensure healthy eyes and correct eyeglass or contact-lens strength. "Be certain to tell your optometrist about the computer work you do," Elder said.
- Rest your eyes and look away from the computer for 20 seconds occasionally. "Try this quick time-out for your eyes every 20 minutes or so," she said.
- Use a humidifier at home to boost eye moisture.
- Wear glasses that are specifically designed to function comfortably at the computer. "Special glasses and computer screen filters are available to help reduce glare and discomfort," Elder said.
Pre-existing, uncorrected vision problems like farsightedness, astigmatism and age-related eye conditions may also contribute to computer vision syndrome.
(Source: University of Alabama at Birmingham: March 2009)