Prevent Computer Eye StrainIt’s national Women’s Eye Health and Safety month in the U.S., which makes it timely to discuss computer-related eye strain.

As a nurse, you may strain your eyes trying to read increment markings on a syringe or dosages on a small, printed pill packet. Nursing definitely isn’t kind to the eyes.

Neither is freelance writing. Your back might feel better as a writer than it does as a nurse, but your eyes may keep complaining.

Computer Vision Syndrome is a real thing. The American Optometric Association defines it as:

“…a group of eye and vision-related problems that result from prolonged computer, tablet, e-reader and cell phone use.”

Why Reading on a Computer Causes More Eye Strain Than Reading a Printed Document

Computer screens display type and images as a collection of colored dots. These dots pulsate in milliseconds. This pulsation requires your eyes and brain to work harder to discern the patterns of letters and pictures.

How To Avoid Eye Strain As a Freelance Writer

You want to take good care of your peepers. They need to last a lifetime.

To avoid computer-related eye strain, you can take several actions:

  1. Take frequent breaks from the computer. If you can’t literally get up and get away for a few minutes, do the next-best thing: Every few minutes, shift your focus from the screen to a distant point. I’m lucky to have a gorgeous view out my home office window. All day long squirrels leaping from one crape myrtle branch to another catch my attention andList for eye strain force me to shift my gaze. But even if I didn’t have the motion of furry creatures to distract me, I still would use this technique.
  1. Employ proper ergonomics. Your computer screen should be at an appropriate height and distance for you to see the screen without squinting or tilting your head.
  1. Use corrective lenses. If you need computer glasses, buy them. I have trifocals, and they’re not adequate for the work I do. I’m investing soon in some dedicated mid-range single-vision glasses just for work. My eyes will thank me.
  1. If you can tolerate it, use a glare filter. I can’t abide glare filters. They make the screen look too “dark” to me. However, I do use f.lux to adapt the color of my computer display to the time of day. When it’s daylight, f.lux lets my screen be brighter and bluer. After dark, my display exudes a warmer glow.
  1. Use eye drops. Saline drops can help moisturize. You wouldn’t go for long periods of time without using lotion on your skin, so why not soothe your dry eyes too?

These tips (plus the others available at the AOA website) will help you keep your eyes healthy for a long time to come.

Wishing you well,