Anyone reading this is one of the millions of people who regularly use some kind of ‘screen’ or digital device. This maybe a TV screen, computer screen (remember VDU’s – visual display units and/or monitors), tablets and/or smartphones
If your mother told you to sit up straight and not slouch, she had a point;
- Sitting hunched over your screen restricts your breathing and puts your shoulder and neck muscles under tension.
- For most people the best eye position for close work, especially reading is looking slightly down – not straight ahead – as most eyes naturally converge (turn in) when looking down, this makes for more comfortable near vision.
It is important to avoid staring at a screen for long periods. It is suggested that the eyes (and back and shoulders) need a break every 20 minutes. this only needs to be for about 20 seconds and can happen naturally if reading a book when turning the page.
Screens need to be kept clean as smeary, greasy, scratched and/or dusty screens means your visual system has to work much harder to make sense of any displayed information, this increases stress and tiredness.
When viewing any screen it is vital that there are no unwanted reflections to distract you. Static screens need to be positioned so there are no stray light sources or reflections anywhere in your line of sight. Mobile devices should be held so you can see the screen comfortably.
Eyes often feel tired and may even appear blood shot after long hours working. Sometimes this is a sign that you really need a break, or a sign that you need to blink more frequently but could be a sign of ‘dry eye’. If taking regular breaks and ensuring that you are blinking well does not correct the problem then you really need to address the underlying cause by making an appointment with your optometrist.
Take a moment to consider how much time you spend a week looking at a screen, and add up how much money you spend on your various digital devices, then ask your self are you always sitting comfortably, is the illumination helpful or harmful, do you wear appropriate specs, do you use your ‘top up tears’ and most importantly of all don’t forget to blink.