Solving the Staring Problem
I have had 20/20 vision for my entire life. No glasses, no contacts, no vision problems whatsoever. However, last summer I began working two jobs that included sitting at a desk and working on the computer for 10 hours a day. Once classes began in the fall, I continued working at my PR internship three days a week, where I continued to spend long periods of time looking at a computer screen.
Eventually, about two months ago, I started getting horrible headaches, and it hurt to read anything on the computer screen without squinting. I knew my body, and I knew it was time to go to the doctor and get it figured out. As I suspected, I needed glasses. Thankfully, they are only necessary while I’m sitting at my computer, and the eye doctor filled me in on what I had been doing wrong at work: not giving my eyes a break.
Now, as I’ve started my full-time job at Obsidian, I have been trying my best to keep my eyes healthy while at my desk. Glasses or not, I would suggest that everyone who has a desk job and spends much of their time at a computer follow these tips:
- Look around: For every 30 minutes you spend staring at the bright computer screen, take a few minutes to fix your gaze on something else. Look out the window, focus on something on the other side of the office or take a minute to organize your desk. Just a couple minutes away from the screen can make a huge difference.
- Write it out: If you have a story to write or a blog post to brainstorm, skip typing it out and use a pen and paper. Write an outline or a bulleted list the old-fashioned way – it’ll save you some screen time and your eyes will thank you!
- Get up and walk: Make sure to take a stretch/stand/walk break every once in a while. Sitting at the computer for hours on end can make the day seem endless and, to be honest, isn’t healthy. Walk to a coworker’s desk to ask a question, head to the back to refill your water bottle or step over to the shop next door for a coffee. Little breaks throughout the day will relieve the pressures from sitting and staring at a screen during the workday.
Although mine was an extreme case, most people who work at computers experience some sort of eye exhaustion and stress. Make sure to keep yourself healthy during the workday – your productivity will increase as your eye strain and headaches decrease. Sounds like a win-win solution to me!