5 Tips to Eliminate Visual Stress at Work



The world we live in is changing fast, especially when it comes to the workplace.


Most of us work less active jobs than our ancestors that require us to use our near vision. This applies to everyone working in offices, libraries, shops, and so on and so forth. The list is endless.


Because our world and way of life is changing much faster than our eye can adapt to, it can cause quite a bit of stress on our eyes. Especially when most of us spend our workdays plopped down in front of a screen for six to eight hours at a time.


But do not worry. Here are some tips to prevent visual stress and keep yourself productive and headache free!


Visual Stress and Symptoms

Symptoms include:

  • Tired eyes

  • Burning and watery eyes

  • Fuzzy or double vision

  • Headaches, normally felt at the front of the head

  • Nausea or dizziness after long periods of work

  • Trouble focusing or seeing after work

Whether you think you may have visual stress of not, everyone can benefit from these five tips to prevent and sooth your eyes.


1. Properly Place Your Chair

Properly placing your computer screen and your work chair doesn’t mean placing it in whatever position is most comfortable. Comfort doesn’t always equate to eliminating visual stress. Besides, after 10 minutes you’ll get used to your new and correct computer position and it’ll seem like the most comfortable choice.


To achieve maximum comfort for your eyes, position your chair slightly elevated so that you’re looking down at the computer screen. But only slightly! Don’t have your chair so high that your chin is touching your chest. That’s bound to cause some intense neck strain. Try holding your chin straight; this is how you should be looking at your screen.

Then adjust your chair accordingly.


2. Keep Your Distance

You don’t need to have your nose pressed up against your screen to be able to see it. If you do, you should talk to your doctor, and quickly. For the rest of us, the Harmond Distance will work just fine.


The Harmond Distance is about 16 inches, which is how far your face should be from your book, or sheet of paper if you’re writing. For computers, it should be anywhere between 20 and 24 inches away.


Not everyone carries around a measuring tape, so a good way to judge a good distance is to place your fist underneath your chin. The distance from your knuckle to your elbow is how far your eyes should be from your work material. For an even safer distance when working at a computer, add another fist to the end of your elbow.


3. Face the Computer Head On

We mean this both figuratively and literally. If you face your computer head on instead of at an angle, you’ll be more productive and able to face your work head on.


Looking at your computer from an angle can produce unnecessary visual stress. Screens were not designed to be looked at from an angle. Try it right now. Look at your computer screen from the right side. What you’ll notice is that the right side of the screen is well lit, but not the left side.


Adjust your screen so that you’re comfortably facing the screen head on. The position of the screen will depend on each individual. Your chair position and computer position should work comfortably together.


4. Use Daylight

Natural daylight is the best source of light when it comes to long hours of work. Daylight isn’t as harsh on the eyes as those horrible fluorescent office lights. If you have the option to choose between artificial and daylight, always choose daylight.


If you aren’t so lucky to have this option, you can do your part in trying to get your office to change their lightbulbs to special lights that imitate natural light. If you have a desk lamp, consider changing the bulb to a dimmer color.


If you can’t pull off any of these solutions, the best thing to do is to avoid the glare of the lights on your screen. This means adjusting your computer monitor so that the florescent lights aren’t being reflected off the screen and into your eyes. This also can prevent severe headaches.


5. Take a Break

Our last tip on the list is to take a break! Take a breather, let your eyes relax and defocus. The best part about this tip is your breaks don’t have to be long and they can be discreet.

The rule of thumb is that your eyes need a break about every 10 minutes. That doesn’t seem like a lot of time, but they only need to rest for 10 seconds. A good trick to use is the 10-10-10 rule. For every 10 minutes of work, look at something 10 feet away for 10 seconds.


You can look at anything! The only exception is another screen. Don’t go from one screen to another. Look at a plant, or a painting, or your new co-worker’s desk decor.


These five simple tips are guaranteed to make your life at work easier and more productive. Our eyes are the windows to our souls, but they’re also the windows to our success. We take our eyes for granted, but one way to pay them back is to take care of them, especially at work.


This post originally appeared on Rebuild Your Vision.