Computer Vision Syndrome, or computer eyestrain, can be caused by a variety of things. Most commonly it is a result of bad lighting and/or long hours. Since I’m getting a strain right now, how about we explore how was can prevent, or ease, eyestrain.
This [very well organized] list from The Lighting Blog provides 22 ideas to keep your eyes focused and reading right.
The first few are good to do even if your eyes are fine but want to keep your productivity up. Try taking a break.
1. Take a few minutes away from your computer, better yet your desk each hour.
2. If you can’t leave your desk, lean back, close your eyes and relax.
3. Segment auxiliary work tasks; use them to break up otherwise lengthy computer sessions.
4. Quickly revive yourself with a few easy stretches.
5. Overhead lighting and bright light emanating from behind your monitor are tough on the eyes. If you have the option, use table lamps off to either side of your work area.
6. If you are close to a sunny window, close or adjust the blinds so light does not fall directly onto your monitor.
7. Avoid working in a dark room. Your monitor will be like a bright beacon in the dark. Your eyes will have to struggle between the extremes of light and dark. If you must work in near dark conditions, try dimming the brightness of your monitor screen.
8. If you really mean to kick computer eye strain and want to properly light your home or office workspace, shop specifically for high-quality task lights that not only throw a measured degree and quality of light, but also reduce glare.
It turns out that the dryness of office space, coupled with the fact that you apparently blink only one third the normal amount while at the computer, can increase eyestrain too.
9. Natural plants in your workspace can increase humidity as well as control dust and other irritating particles.
10. Over the counter natural tear products are useful to relieve dry eyes, a main complaint among heavy computer users.
Maybe the problem lies in your monitor?
11. The CRT refresh rate may be custom calibrated to reduce the flicker, and in turn reduce the typical eye strain and fatigue associated with a low refresh rate.
As a rule, the higher the refresh rate, the better for your vision, although some sources report no noticeable difference above a certain range.
12. Invest in a flat screen model. Flat screens of any kind provide a much more graphically sound image than those on the old curved screens. Flat screen CRTs offer better refresh rates and a richer palette of contrast and color adjustments.
13. Invest in a laptop. If you are considering a laptop, the LCD monitors vary in size from a tiny 10” up to 19”. Regardless of the width of the screen these monitors deliver high definition graphics, deep color contrast and a well-worth-it range of adjustable settings. Compare and contrast pixel specifications to determine which will most suit your needs.
14. Configure your computer’s graphics settings for optimal visual comfort.
15. Font sizes may be adjusted for your comfort, as well. If you find yourself leaning forward to read the text on the screen then you should increase the point size of your font.
16. Optometrists recommend a computer monitor be somewhere between 20 and 30 inches from your eyes. The length of your arm, from shoulder to finger tips, should be just about right for measuring the distance between yourself and the monitor.
17. Anti-glare monitor shields and filters may be optical glass quality, polarized, and designed for CRT, flat panel or laptop monitors.
The right change for the right job:
18. Data Entry Professionals and Administrative Assistants typically convert data from documents to electronic databases. Document holders minimize eye-strain by keeping hard-copy documents vertical and at the same distance from your eyes as the monitor. Eyes that must constantly readjust for distance and position will tire and become sore much sooner.
19. Computer Programmers work intensively with complex computer languages heavy on symbols and intricate visual configurations. Some sources suggest more code-concise and visually friendly fonts for programmers such as Courier, New Courier and a slew of other customized fonts; some free, and some with a price tag.
20. Graphics/Web Designers should have a top of the line high definition monitor for intricate art and design work. Adjust your operating system to make it easy on the eyes. If you use Windows and have an LCD monitor enable ClearType.
Or maybe it’s just your damn eyes!
21. Get an eye exam. According to the American Optometric Association, adults up to age 40 should have an eye exam every three years; those aged 40 to 60, every two; and 60 plus, every year.
22. Computer Viewing Glasses, maybe? Perhaps you’ve heard or read about the glasses you can get to wear while working with your computer.
22 Ways to Reduce Eye Strain at Your Computer – [TheLightingBlog]
The brain is a tangled web of information. We don’t remember single facts, but instead we interlink everything by association. Anytime we experience a new event, our brains tie the sights, smells, sounds and our own impressions together into a new relationship.
Our brain remembers things by repetition, association, visual imagery, and all five senses. By knowing a bit about how the brain works, we can become better learners, absorbing new information faster than ever.
Here are some study tips to help get you started:
1. Use Flashcards
Our brains create engrained memories through repetition. The more times we hear, see, or repeat something to ourselves, the more likely we are to remember it.
Flashcards can help you learn new subjects quickly and efficiently. Flashcards allow you to study anywhere at any time. Their portable nature lends them to quick study sessions on the bus, in traffic, at lunch, or in the doctor’s office. You can always whip out your flashcards for a quick 2 to 3 minute study session.
To create effective flashcards, you need to put one point on each flashcard. Don’t load up the entire card with information. That’s just overload. Instead, you should dedicate one concept to each card.
One of the best ways to make flashcards is to put 1 question on the front and one answer on the back. This way, you can repeatedly quiz yourself into you have mastered any topic of your choice.
Commit to reading through your flash cards at least 3 times a day and you will be amazed at how quickly you pick up new information.
As Tony Robbins says,
“Repetition is the mother of skill”.
2. Create the Right Environment
Often times, where you study can be just as important as how you study. For an optimum learning environment, you’ll want to find a nice spot that is fairly peaceful. Some people can’t stand a deafening silence, but you certainly don’t want to study near constant distractions.
Find a spot that you can call your own, with plenty of room to spread out your stuff. Go there each time you study and you will find yourself adapting to a productive study schedule. When you study in the same place each time, you become more productive in that spot because you associate it with studying.
3. Use Acronyms to Remember Information
In your quest for knowledge, you may have once heard of an odd term called “mnemonics”. However, even if you haven’t heard of this word, you have certainly heard of its many applications. One of the most popular mnemonic examples is “Every Good Boy Does Fine”. This is an acronym used to help musicians and students to remember the notes on a treble clef stave.
An acronym is simply an abbreviation formed using the intial letters of a word. These types of memory aids can help you to learn large quantities of information in a short period of time.
4. Listen to Music
Research has long shown that certain types of music help you to recall information. Information learned while listening to a particular song can often be remembered simply by “playing” the songs mentally in your head.
5. Rewrite Your Notes
This can be done by hand or on the computer. However, you should keep in mind that writing by hand can often stimulate more neural activity than when writing on the computer.
Everyone should study their notes at home but often times, simply re-reading them is too passive. Re-reading your notes can cause you to become disengaged and distracted.
To get the most out of your study time, make sure that it is active. Rewriting your notes turns a passive study time into an active and engaging learning tool. You can begin using this technique by buying two notebooks for each of your classes. Dedicate one of the notebooks for making notes during each class. Dedicate the other notebook to rewriting your notes outside of class.
6. Engage Your Emotions
Emotions play a very important part in your memory. Think about it. The last time you went to a party, which people did you remember? The lady who made you laugh, the man who hurt your feelings, and the kid who went screaming through the halls are the ones you will remember. They are the ones who had an emotional impact.
Fortunately, you can use the power of emotion in your own study sessions. Enhance your memory by using your five senses. Don’t just memorize facts. Don’t just see and hear the words in your mind. Create a vivid visual picture of what you are trying to learn.
For example, if you are trying to learn the many parts of a human cell, begin physically rotating the cell in your minds eye. Imagine what each part might feel like. Begin to take the cell apart piece by piece and then reconstruct it. Paint the human cell with vivid colors. Enlarge the cell in your mind’s eye so that it is now six feet tall and putting on your own personal comedy show. This visual and emotional mind play will help deeply encode information into your memory.
7. Make Associations
One of the best ways to learn new things is to relate what you want to learn with something you already know. This is known as association, and it is the mental glue that drives your brain.
Have you ever listened to a song and been flooded by memories that were connected to it? Have you ever seen an old friend that triggered memories from childhood? This is the power of association.
To maximize our mental powers, we must constantly be looking for ways to relate new information with old ideas and concepts that we are already familiar with.
You can do this with the use of mindmapping. A mind map is used to diagram words, pictures, thoughts, and ideas into a an interconnected web of information. This simple practice will help you to connect everything you learn into a global network of knowledge that can be pulled from at any moment.
Learn more about mindmapping here: How to Mind Map to Visualize Your Thoughts (With Mind Map Examples)