Are You a Victim of EYE FRY?

  1. Do you spend most of your workday creating charts, Excel sheets and reports while staring at your computer monitor?
  2. Do you attend meetings and collaborate with co-workers in Teams chat while staring at your computer monitor?
  3. Do you take a short break at your desk and play Wordle while staring at your computer monitor?
  4. Do you catch up with friends and Facebook and Instagram after work while staring at the even smaller ‘computer monitor’ on your cell phone?
  5. Do you experience headaches, eye strain or blurred vision after all of the above? Of course you do. Your eyes are very tired of your unrelenting focus on the internet!

Our screen time has collectively increased due to the pandemic and related lack of human co-worker interaction, and we haven’t made adjustments for the additional strain our eyes are now bearing. However, there are ways to mitigate daily eye fry, and we’ve enlisted the assistance of Michigan Treasury’s health and wellness expert for solutions.

Since headaches, tired eyes and blurred vision can be caused by screen fatigue, we asked Treasury Health and Safety Coordinator Brian Rush to give us some healthy eye-saver suggestions.

Woman is sitting in front of her computer monitor in her office while rubbing her closed eyes

“Take eye breaks,” offered Brian. “Throughout the day, give your eyes a break by looking away from your monitor. Try the 20–20–20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.

“Check the lighting and reduce glare,” he continued. “Bright lighting and too much glare can strain your eyes and make it difficult to see objects on your monitor. Consider turning off some or all of the overhead lights if possible.

“If you need light for writing or reading, use an adjustable desk lamp. Close blinds or shades, and avoid placing your monitor directly in front of a window or white wall. Place an anti-glare cover over the screen.”

Another recommendation: use blue light blocking eyeglass lenses to counteract computer eye strain. Blue light is produced by the sun, fluorescent and incandescent light bulbs, and the backlit LED screens of our computers and cell phones. Our eyes are built to filter out UV rays but are unable to protect our retinas from blue light. Too much unprotected screen time can lead to digital eyestrain and even interfere with our sleep cycle.

The default brightness on a monitor (or other device) is often set way too high, and you can turn that down to a more reasonable level if you’re actually staring at a screen all day. Blue light blocking glasses are helpful, and they can be purchased with or without a prescription.

Employees who use Microsoft Outlook or Teams can change the background color of their screens. You may find a gray or black background a lot more soothing to look at, especially by the end of a long day online.

TEAMS: To change your screen’s background color in Teams, click on the three dots next to your profile image in the upper right corner. Then go to > Settings > Theme.

OUTLOOK: To change your screen’s background color in Outlook, follow the visual instructions, below.

STEP ONE
STEP TWO
STEP THREE

“You can also adjust your monitor,” added Brian.Position it directly in front of you about an arm’s length away so that the top of the screen is at or just below eye level. It helps to have a chair you can adjust, too.

“And use a document holder. If you need to refer to print material while you work on your computer, place it on a document holder. Some holders are designed to be placed between the keyboard and monitor; others are placed to the side. Find one that works for you. The goal is to reduce how much your eyes need to readjust and how often you turn your neck and head.”

Brian reiterated the need for combining the tips we’ve listed with frequent movement. You can hop on the treadmill at lunchtime or roll out the yoga mat, but simply taking brief walks around the office or home office every half-hour will promote circulation and reduce muscle tension.

“These micro breaks will not only help to keep the blood flowing,” Brian said, “but your eyes will thank you as well!” ~

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