Blog, news & updates

Preventing eyestrain at work

Your eyes are under a lot of pressure when you are sat at a computer all 9-5 Monday-Friday. You might experience anything from eye twitching, dry eyes, redness, fatigue or decreased productivity. There are many ways to try and prevent eye strain at work and reduce any possible damage to your eyes.

Computer Eyewear

You might benefit from wearing glasses especially modified for computer users. Particularly if you normally wear contact lenses which can sometimes become dry and uncomfortable when using DSE all of the time. They are also handy for people wearing bifocals or progressive lenses because these are not the best glasses for staring at a screen. You might also try the light adjusting glasses or tinted glasses to reduce your exposure to the blue light emitted from a computer screen.

Exercise your eyes

Did you know that regularly re-focussing your eyes helps to combat the eyestrain associated with using a computer?

You need to look up and away from the screen often and regularly; focus your eyes on the most distant thing you can see – it may be something out of the window, a picture or a notice on a wall – concentrate on it for a few seconds before returning to your screen.

Eyestrain can happen when you concentrate for a long time on a stationary point, like a computer screen, because your eye muscles are held in a fixed position; ANY muscle held in the same position will start to strain. Re-focussing means the lens muscles in your eyes adjust the shape of the lens to focus on the new object - this simple activity will help prevent or relieve the strain on your eyes.


Blinking moistens your eyes to prevent dryness and itchiness/irritation. Moisture coating the eyeball evaporate more quickly during long non-blinking gaps which results in tired eyes and this can be heightened by the dry air that is usually circulated in office buildings.

Eyedrops can be used to prevent eye dryness in the day. But make sure you get eye drops specifically what you are buying for and not to reduce redness or itching etc. because they may not be formulated for this purpose.

Eye Tests

You should make sure that even if you are not a glasses wearer that you get a routine eye exam done each year. This will aim to prevent any excessive eye damage to your eyes by catching a problem (if there is one) early on.

DSE users are advised to get an eye test before they start work on a computer and then annual thereafter. Be sure to mention just how often you are using a computer (work or leisure) and take note of how far away you sit from your computer so that you can get your Optician to test this distance.

Upgrade your Display

LCD displays should be used across most offices now as they are the best for your eyes as well as quality and have a non-reflective surface. You should always aim to get higher resolution screens too and LCD screen do not encounter the ‘flicker’ issues that CRT screens used to and they are backlit.

It is also advised to choose a relatively big display (diagonal size of 19 inches).

Take breaks

Discomfort and eye strain can be reduced by taking regular breaks from your screens and having four 5-minute ‘mini-breaks’ from your screen. There is also benefit to taking these small breaks, they can increase productivity. In these breaks, you shouldn’t remain at your desk staring into your screen or staring at your phone but you should get up, move around and stretch. You could even do some short exercises in these gaps to prevent muscle fatigue.

Your workstation

Your workstation should be big enough to hold the equipment you use regularly, and it should give you enough room to work comfortably. It should also be clean and tidy, and the equipment you use the most should be closest to you. The best way to arrange your equipment is by splitting your workstation into two zones: The first zone is the Normal Reach Zone, which is the area that’s closest to you, and it covers the parts of your workstation that you can easily reach when your back is upright and your elbows are at your sides. The second zone is the Maximum Reach Zone, and this covers the area you can reach when you move your arms from your shoulders WITHOUT leaning forward. You should also check that you’ve got enough leg room, and some room to fidget! ‘Fidget room’ gives you space to stand, stretch and fidget throughout the day.

If you have one computer monitor, it should be positioned directly in front of you, we tend to read at about 15 degrees lower than our eyes, so the top of the screen should be level with your eyes. If you have multiple monitors they should be sat side-by-side with the outer edge of each one angled slightly towards you; this will reduce how much you twist your neck. They should be the same size and positioned at the same height.


Eye strain can sometimes be caused by the lighting either from the artificial lights in your office or by the natural sunlight outside. You should aim to position computer screens so that they are beside windows rather than behind or in front of it and lower blinds if it is too bright. Likewise, artificial lighting should not be too overpowering and should be dimmed if causing headaches or eye strain.

Sometimes having ‘full spectrum’ or ‘warm’ lighting can be more comforting to the user as it mimics sunlight. But even this can cause discomfort, speak to an employer if you feel like the lighting is causing you eye strain or headaches.


As we said before, you should always aim to make sure that computers are not placed behind or in front of windows.

Glare can also come from walls and surfaces that are shiny. Walls can be painted a darker colour or with a matte finish to prevent it. Screens can also get an anti-glare screen on top of them. Glasses wearers can also get anti-reflecting coatings on them.

Computer Display

You can adjust various settings to change your display so that it is suitable for you personally.


If your computer looks like it is providing a light source then you may want to think about turning the brightness down so that the brightness level is equal to that of your surroundings.

Text size:

Text size should be enlarged if you are struggling to read what is on the page, this can cause eye strain when reading or creating documents, black text on a white screen is easiest to win.


This should also be adjusted for personal comfort to prevent eye strain.

Colour temperature:

Blue light is linked to eyestrain and reducing these blue hues by reducing the colour temperature is better for long term viewing comfort.

iHASCO's Display Screen Equipment Training includes simple exercises designed to relieve the stresses and strains associated with sitting at and using computers, including a selection of eye exercises. Have a quick look at some of our simple eye re-focussing exercises.

DSE Online Training Course