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Your Eyes Matter!

wtschmidt profile image Wesley Schmidt ・2 min read

As a programmer you’re bound to stare at a screen for extended periods of time, which can cause a lot of eye strain. These are most commonly known as refractive errors and are inevitable as a software engineer, but it's best to limit the occurrences to a few as possible. Refractive errors are a common cause for blurred and impaired vision due to the irregularity of the human eye’s shape.
They are the cause of at least 42% of visual impairment, 124 million people are estimated to have uncorrected refractive errors, and 517 million people have trouble seeing up close due to normal aging. So here are some thing you can do to avoid these errors at all costs.

1) Set up the lighting of your workspace environment. Eye strain is commonly caused by excessively bright light, both natural and artificial, so it's best to limit all sources of light while working long hours. Avoid glare, it contributes a lot to excess light. This can be done in a plethora of ways including positioning screens so that they are to the side of windows, and limit the amount of light coming in with blinds. Try to avoid fluorescent lighting as they are seen as the harshest type of light to use indoors and use “soft light” like lamps. Consider using anti-glare screen cover and/or glasses.

2) Position your workspace. Increase your text size and dim your screen, if you have to squint your eyes to see what's right in front of you, something is wrong. Adjust your monitor, your eyes should be near the top of your screen to avoid as much glare as possible. Try out dark mode, many people think dark mode is less stressful on the eyes, though it is not scientifically proven I personally prefer dark modes. Consider installing blue light filter software, like "Redlight", "f.lux", or "Iris". Blue light has a shorter wavelength which can cause more strain on your eyes. There's also a lot that work with your phone.

3) Exercise! Follow the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 min look away from the computer for 20 sec at something that is 20 ft away. Also can try to look at something far for 10-15 sec then something close for 10-15 sec, 10 times a day. Blink more! Staring at a screen all day, you blink ⅓ as often, so try to be more conscious of this to prevent dryness and irritation. Take a break: Try to stand up and stretch for at least 10 min every hour, it reduces stress and tension as well as muscle fatigue. Take this time to relax for a second, clear your mind, work is important, but so is your health!

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