Mar 072014

As a programmer you spend a lot of your time sitting in front of a computer screen.  There are a lot of negative impacts that this can have on your body. One of the most common is carpal tunnel which can easily be prevented with a good keyboard and wrist pads to rest on. So while a lot of people take care of the most common known issue with spending a lot of time working on a computer it surprises me how few people take care of another part of their body that is impacted by heavy use, their eyes.

One aspect of your body that I would say is very important in continuing to do your job effectively is your eyes.  The eyes are something that many people don’t think they need to spend much effort protecting.  The truth of it is that prolonged eye strain from staring at monitors can cause a lot of issues over time with your eyes.

Now there are a lot of things that can be done to reduce eye strain from working on a computer everyday.  Here is a list of 10 tips for reducing computer eye strain.  The problem with that list is not everything can be controlled.

Sure you can go get your eyes checked, as you should, and you may be able control your settings on your monitor   You can also control how often you blink and can exercise your eyes.  However, you may not have control over the monitor that you have to use, the brightness/glare in your workspace or the ability to take frequent breaks.  Even with taking frequent breaks, if you are sitting in front of a monitor for 10+ hours a day it’s still going to have minimal impact.

I’ve personally done all of the listed tips, that i’ve been able to do, and of them the one that i’ve found that worked the best for me was to get special eyewear for working on the computer.  Now the type of eyewear that I got is considered a gaming accessory as it’s marketed for gamers who spend a lot of time in front of their tv to help reduce the eye strain created by playing games for long periods of time.  The same thing that makes them great for gamers makes them great for helping with eye strain from programming.

I use Gunnar Optiks and have even turned a few of my co-workers onto using them as well.  They really do help, before I started using them I suffered many of the symptoms of eye strain.  I frequently had headaches that made working a real pain, couldn’t figure out what was causing it till I realized my eyes were strained.

Now buying specialty glasses may not work for everyone, each situation is different, i’m just saying what has worked for me.  But you should also try as many things as possible to help your eyes from being strained too much, because your eyes are important.  While you could continue working without great vision, it’s not something that is going to be as effective or enjoyable in the long term.

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