Five Easy Ways to Keep Your Eyes Healthy at Work

Did you know that the average working American spends around 43% of his or her waking hours in front of a screen? When you consider sitting in an uncomfortable chair, using a cell phone, and watching TV at home, it makes sense why so many people always end up with such tired eyes at work.[1]

Fortunately, there are a few easy changes that you can make at your office to reduce the strain on your eyes at work.


1. Stay Away from Harsh Lighting

Harsh lights can tire out your eyes quickly, especially when you also use a computer at work.

Luckily, there are a few quick fixes to help reduce the effects of harsh lighting on your eyes. You can try:

  • Closing the Blinds: If there’s bright sunlight in the space that you’re sitting in, closing the blinds can help reduce the strain on your eyes.
  • Turning Off Overhead Lighting: Try using a floor lamp or other less direct lighting.
  • Swaping Out Your Bulbs: Another easy fix is to use lower-intensity overhead bulbs.[2]
  • Adjusting Your Monitor Brightness: Your monitor should be about as bright as the lighting in the space you use your computer in. A good way to test this is to open a webpage with a white background. If the white background looks like a light source, that means it’s too bright. If the white background seems dull and gray, that means it’s too dark. The right brightness setting will greatly reduce the strain on your eyes.[3]

2. Beware the Glare!

Dr. David K. Coats, MD, chief of ophthalmology at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, advises his patients to be aware of the glare on their computer screens.

Glare on your computer monitor will make you squint, and that can lead to eye strain. This glare gets worse if you wear glasses while you look at your screen.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Position Your Computer so that your light source is behind it, close shades in the room, and used recessed lighting to cut down on glare, advises Dr. Coats.
  • Filter The Screen: You may also want to use a filter on your computer screen that reduces glare.[4]

3. Correct the Position of Your Monitor

We’ve all felt eye fatigue. You just spent hours in front of the computer, and all you want to do is close your eyes and give your neck and shoulders a break.

An easy way to prevent that feeling is to make sure your monitor is where it should be. You screen should be about 18-28 inches away from your eyes, and your eyes should be in line with the top of the monitor when you are looking straight ahead. In other words, when you look down at your screen, you shouldn’t have to move your head.

Diagram of proper seating. Text: Eyes in line with the top of the monitor. Screen 16 - 25 inches from eyes. 10-20 inches from monitor vertical (depending on distance)

4. Resolve to Improve your Resolution!

Did you know that 1 in 3 adults stare at a screen for more than 9 hours a day? On top of that, 30% of adults admit not taking time to change poor screen use habits! All of that screen time can have a big impact on the health of your eyes.[5]

Here’s what we recommend:

Make sure that your computer monitor has a high-resolution display. A higher resolution produces sharper type and crisper images, which helps avoid eye fatigue during your work day.[6]

It’s also important to keep your eyes moisturized! Using a daily eyelid cleansing wipe like Blephadex as part of your daily routine can help to refresh your eyes and keep you focused at work.

Woman in striped shirt sitting on a teal sofa using her laptop

5. Give Your Eyes a Break!

If watching hours of Netflix on your laptop while it snows outside sounds like your ideal day, make sure to take regular breaks: Increased time spent in front of the computer can make your eyes become increasingly dry and irritated.[10]

If you notice that your eyes are bothering you, make sure you take some time to shut off the TV or your phone and give your eyes a break. Research shows that you blink 50% less when watching TV or reading, resulting in drier, tired eyes. Making a habit of blinking and resting will allow your eyes to regain moisture that they’ve lost due to the cold winter winds and drying effects of heat.[11]

Woman at a desk removing her glasses and rubbing her eyes

6. You Deserve a Break! Practice The 20/20/20 Rule

When working at a screen, we tend to blink less than half of the normal amount that we should. The result? Dry, irritated eyes. [7]

The best solution is simple: give your eyes a break! It’s important to remind yourself to rest your eyes. Doctors recommend using the 20/20/20 rule to reduce the risk of tiring your eyes out. It’s easy: look away from your screen at least once every 20 minutes. Look at a distant object, preferably 20 feet away or over, for at least 20 seconds.[8] That’s all there is to it. Practicing this rule keeps the muscles in your eyes active so you can avoid that afternoon fuzziness.[9]