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Looking after your eyes


Humans were not designed to sit and stare at computer screens. The good news is that there is no evidence that prolonged computer use causes any eye damage. The bad news is that if you do not accept the limits imposed by physics and physiology you could induce numerous painful problems.

Things to check

Make sure you position the monitor about an arm's-length away from your screen. The precise distance depends on the size of your screen and the settings monitors.

Check the contrast and brightness settings on your screen and adjust them accordingly.

Have your eyes tested regularly.

Relax your eye muscles – every 20 minutes, look away for at least 20 seconds, and blink regularly to keep the surface of your eyes moist and clean.


Computer work needs 2 types of lighting.

  • Ambient lighting, which should provide a bright, glare-free environment.

  • Task lighting, which provides local illumination for paper documents.

The former can be provided by general room lighting. The latter is best done with an adjustable lamp which can be positioned to avoid reflections etc. 

Multiple light sources help avoid shadows although a single fluorescent tube can provide a good source of office light.

Does computer use damage your eyes?

The consensus is that intensive computer use will uncover, rather than cause, eye problems. Before you assume that you have an eye problem associated with your computer, check the environmental conditions such as lighting levels and reflection, to make sure these are not forcing you to strain your eyes or other muscles to compensate.