How to prevent vision deterioration from excessive computer use
September 30, 2013 2:04 AM   Subscribe

I use the computer for 16-18 hours a day becasue I have a online business and I have noticed my vision worsening since doing this. I really don't want glasses and have seen a eye doctor who said I don't absolutely need glasses my vision is 20/25 I think he said. I used to have better vision before I spent so much time on the computer. I'm wondering if there any any "techniques" used by OSHA or anything to prevent eyestrain or vision deterioration from excessive computer use .
posted by john123357 to Health & Fitness (19 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
The usual advice is to spend a certain amount of time each hour looking at more distant objects. I like to make a habit of turning to face a window when I'm on the phone or doing any other stuff that doesn't involve the monitor. Even a few seconds glancing at something further away seems to help a lot.

You shouldn't really be experiencing noticeable eye strain when using your computer. If you find that your eyes are tiring easily, it could point to an issue with ambient lighting, distance, text size, or some other issue.

Having said that, some deterioration in vision is inevitable as you age.
posted by pipeski at 2:15 AM on September 30, 2013

There's the 20-20-20 rule, which states that every twenty minutes you should focus on an object twenty or more feet away for twenty seconds to prevent eyestrain.

I have no idea if this is a real thing or the placebo effect, but it does seem to help my eyes.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 2:18 AM on September 30, 2013 [3 favorites]

Make sure that the room is well lit; the monitor should not be brighter than the surroundings.
posted by richb at 2:33 AM on September 30, 2013

Response by poster: Do they recommend taking breaks away from the computer? if so for how long and how often?
posted by john123357 at 2:51 AM on September 30, 2013

If you don't already use f.lux, it's a helpful little piece of software that adjusts the color temperature of your screen to be more comfortable to look at in artificial lighting, especially after dark. I don't know if it'll help with your vision, but it may help with eyestrain.
posted by dreamyshade at 3:46 AM on September 30, 2013 [3 favorites]

As far as I understand, it's not about being away from the computer - it's about not focussing your eyes at one distance for extended periods. Having said that, getting up and walking around regularly can only be good for you.
posted by pipeski at 3:47 AM on September 30, 2013

First off, I'd like to assure you that 20-25 is pretty darn good, and nothing to worry about.

Getting up and moving around periodically is the best thing you can realistically do; it's normal for eyesight to change over time, heavy computer use or not, but you can at least minimize the strain. Getting up will, in fact, be better for you all around: it will not only give your eyes a rest by focusing on other things at other distances, but it'll also be better for your cardiovascular system to move around now and then.
posted by easily confused at 5:25 AM on September 30, 2013

Since you specifically asked about OSHA. (This also uses the "20 feet away" figure BitterOldPunk mentioned)
posted by Wretch729 at 5:25 AM on September 30, 2013

Mod note: OP, no threadsitting.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane (staff) at 6:12 AM on September 30, 2013

During my yoga teacher training we learned some eye exercises that are actually traditionally a part of yoga. Basically they involve moving the eyes in different directions, following an object such such as the finger, etc. They are supposed to strengthen the muscles in your eyes and prevent eye strain. You could probably google a list of these exercise and do them on breaks.
posted by bearette at 6:45 AM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

Greatly reduce the brightness of your monitor.
posted by jsturgill at 8:08 AM on September 30, 2013

Computer use can also make your eyes excessively dry -- maybe eye drops will help?
posted by rue72 at 8:15 AM on September 30, 2013

I've found the kind of exercises bearette mentions to be helpful. You can find them by googling "natural vision improvement" or "Bates method". Aldous Huxley wrote a book about this method, The Art of Seeing.
posted by zeri at 12:04 PM on September 30, 2013

Try wearing anti-reflective (non-glare) reading glasses with no magnification. Made a huge difference for me--recommended by optometrist. I do use magnification but plain glasses are readily available on line.
posted by rmhsinc at 1:00 PM on September 30, 2013

@jsturgill has it. Turn the brightness way, way down. Monitors are at blinding brightness by default. The monitor I'm using right now is literally as low as the backlight will go, and I turn the lights down in my work area a bit. Greatly lowers eye strain.
posted by cnc at 1:51 PM on September 30, 2013

How old are you? I've always had very sharp vision, have recently been at the computer for much of the day, have seen my vision worsen, went to the eye doctor, was told that it's probably nothing (or little) to do with the monitor, more likely just one of the joys of getting older.
Your results may vary.
Good luck!
posted by segatakai at 4:40 PM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

Workrave helps me, and is good for the rest of your body besides your eyes as well.
Though I tend to postpone the rest breaks on busy days...self defeating!
posted by dukes909 at 8:31 AM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

I read somewhere that in places where people spend more time outdoors, people have better vision, presumably because they change their vision's focal length a lot, and also look into the far distance. Visual exercises haven't been shown to cause damage, as far as I know, so spend some time outdoors every day, and look around you, and do vision exercises.
posted by Mom at 11:57 AM on October 1, 2013

Response by poster: To segatakai I'm only 23 so I don't think its age related vision loss
posted by john123357 at 5:49 PM on October 1, 2013

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