Screen Test

Office Upgrade

Apr 24, 2007
Outside Magazine
Owner's Manual: Your Eyes

   Photo: McKibillo

Does sitting too close to the television or computer monitor really ruin your eyes? No. But long hours in front of either display can cause eyestrain, which in turn can slow your near-to-far focusing—decreasing your athletic performance. Think about it: At your desk, your visual field is limited to your computer screen, coffee mug, phone, and everything else that's three feet in front of you. Sit there too long and your eyes begin to forget that there's more to focus on. Then your vision pays the price when you go for a ride or play soccer after work. To reduce daily eyestrain, follow these tips from the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health.

(1) Increase the text size on documents and Web sites. Text should be comfortable to read without squinting or straining. (In your Web browser, click on View and choose Text Size.)

(2) Black text on a white background is the best color combination. If you're working on a Web site or presentation, choose the highest-contrast dark-on-light color option.

(3) Fine-tune the brightness on your computer screen. A white background should appear clean, not gray. If it glows like a fluorescent light, dim it.

(4) Every 30 minutes, look away from your computer screen and focus on a distant object for five to ten seconds (look across the room or out the window). Set a desktop alarm as a reminder, and don't ignore it.

(5) If you need to look back and forth between a printed page and your computer screen, place paperwork on a stand adjacent to the monitor. Make sure the pages are well lit.

(6) Ambient lighting should be about half of what's found in most offices. Eliminate excess exterior light by closing drapes or blinds. Reduce interior lighting by using low-intensity or fewer lightbulbs and fluorescent tubes. Position your monitor so that windows are to the left or right of it, instead of in front or back.

(7) Bright white walls contribute to glare. If possible, paint your office a darker color in a matte finish.

(8) All LCD screens today have antiglare properties. If your CRT monitor doesn't, get an aftermarket antiglare screen cover.

Filed To: Injury Prevention, Eyes

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