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Computer eye fatigue occurs when a person stares at a computer screen for too long, causing the muscles in the eye to strain. This can cause a feeling of tiredness, dryness, itchiness, or even some pain. To avoid computer eye fatigue, one can make several accommodations and take a few simple steps throughout the workday to allow the muscles in the eye to relax. One such way is to stop looking at the screen for a few minutes every hour and look at an object far away — look out a window, perhaps, or at an object down the hall. This allows the muscles to relax and the eye to focus on something at a different distance.
The way in which one orients himself while sitting at a desk can affect how quickly and often computer eye fatigue occurs. If the eyes have to look up or down at a screen, the eyes are more likely to strain and therefore become fatigued. To combat this problem, try to adjust the height of the computer monitor so it is just about even with the eyes. A good way to test whether the position of the monitor will cause computer eye fatigue is to look at the screen, close one's eyes for several seconds, look straight ahead with the eyes closed, and then open the eyes. Note where the eyes are fixed when they open; this is where the center of the computer monitor should sit. Adjustments can be made to the monitor, the computer desk, or even the chair in which one is sitting.
The longer the eyes focus on one spot and in one direction, the more likely computer eye fatigue is to occur. For every three to five minutes of looking at a computer screen, one should look away at an object either closer to the eyes or farther away. This allows the eye muscles to relax, and it prevents straining due to tension in the eyes. Looking to the left and right, as well as up and down, further helps alleviate some of the strain placed on the eyes. People tend to refrain from blinking when they stare at a screen for too long, so one should be sure to blink normally to prevent drying and other issues.
In some severe cases of computer eye fatigue, a visit to an eye doctor may be in order. He or she may recommend reading glasses or stronger prescription glasses due to the degradation of eyesight in one's eyes. Computer eye fatigue can certainly exacerbate some existing eye conditions, and it may even be a cause of eyesight degradation over a long period of time.