The Eyes Have It

When designing an ergonomically correct office setup, it’s tempting to focus primarily on the optimal chair, or ideal mouse and keyboard position. However, it’s equally important to pay attention to lighting and other design and equipment elements that can contribute to eyestrain, resulting in an uncomfortable- and less productive- day at the office. 

Who needs another reason to have one of those?

Here are a few ways to help ensure that it doesn’t happen.  At least due to eyestrain. We’ll tackle the other reasons in subsequent entries. You know, along with “The Office” triva and exploring meaningful career paths for Desperate Housewives in Multiple U.S. Cities.


It’s important to note that eyestrain can translate into different things for different people. Symptoms may include;  burning, dryness, pain at varying degrees of intensity, blurring, watering, and headaches. Not pleasant by anyone’s standard.  Fortunately, you can readily adjust your work environment to lessen or even eliminate any or potentially all of the common symptoms.

First, take note of the lighting in your office, including ceiling, task, and natural. Glare is one of the primary causes of discomfort, prompting the eyes to react or possibly encouraging posture adjustments to facilitate better vision. Position your desk so that you are not directly facing any light source, paying special attention to changes in natural lighting at various times of the day. Lighting that’s placed to the side of your computer monitor is more eye-friendly, eliminating glare from above and / or behind the screen.

It’s also important to consider the distance from which you are viewing your computer screen or other work materials. Ideal placement varies according to age and visual acuity but a general rule of thumb is further is better, providing that the material is close enough to be seen easily. 

Taking frequent breaks from what you’re doing can also go a long way toward making your eyes happy. Focusing on an object at the same distance for long periods of time strains the muscles in the eye, prompting a negative response. Remember to look away from the screen periodically, deliberately focusing on something at a different distance. Or, better yet, stand up and stretch.  Your back, neck and legs will be grateful, too!

Of course, one should always consult a doctor when experiencing any of the symptoms of eyestrain but if the diagnosis signals your eyes simply aren’t pleased with something you’re doing, you can readily change that!

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