The Potential Downside of Staring at a Computer for Long Periods of Time
The use of computers has made life much easier but has come at the detriment of innocent
computer users. Today, people are constantly staring on screens for hours on end without
knowing the harmful benefits that this has not only on their eyesight but also on their
overall health. Most jobs require employees to stare down on computer screens for long
periods of time and this has adverse effects in their future health.
What are some of the risks posed by staring at a computer screen for many hours?
a. Sitting still and not moving for hours in itself can put you at risk of blood clots in
your lower extremities.
b. According to research, every hour of staring at a computer screen increases your
risk of death from cardiovascular disease by 18%. Those who stare at screens for
more than four hours every day increase their risk 80% higher than those who
watch for fewer than two hours daily.
c. It causes computer vision syndrome. This is eye strain that results from long term
computer use. The condition does not have long term or serious consequences but it
is disruptive and unpleasant. The syndrome causes discomfort, fatigue and an
inability to concentrate.
d. Constant close work on a computer also results in progressive nearsightedness. Eye
strains cause sore or burning eyes, a sore neck, blurred vision, wet or dry eyes,
headache and light sensitivity
e. Working on a computer for long periods might also produce color afterimages when
looking away from a monitor. It may also disrupt the ability to shift focus between a
monitor and paper documents.
Here are a few tips to achieve a healthier high-tech habit
i. Always take a blink break. You can look away from the screen every 20 minutes
and gaze into the distance for about 30 seconds. Also check the brightness of the
lighting in the room as the day progresses into late afternoon and evening. It is
important to ensure that you are using proper lighting to minimize the effects of
computer vision syndrome.
ii. As you use your computer, ensure that it is about 14 inches from your eyes.
iii. During the period of computer use, try to dim the ambient lighting to about half
of what is normal for an office. For this effect, you can use less bulbs or bulbs at a
iv. Position your monitor so that any exposed windows are at the right angle to the
v. Try to blink frequently when you are working in order to rewet the eyes
vi. Practice some simple exercises that help the eye relax and refocus easily
vii. Try to look away from your computer after sometime and gaze at something far
away in your field of vision
Your eyesight is important. It is said that the eyes are the windows to the soul therefore
you must take every precaution to protect them.