Tips for those who work at a desk all day
Ergonomics Checklist to Correctly Position Your Computer Monitor
- Place the monitor in a location that eliminates glare on the screen.
Reflected glare from your monitor can cause eyestrain, but sometimes it will also cause you to assume an awkward position to read the screen.
- Place the monitor at a right angle or away from the windows and task lights.
Glare and bright light directly behind your screen can cause eyestrain and be an uncomfortable computing experience. If you can’t adjust the angle of your monitor, try closing the window blinds or turning off/changing the lights if there is a bright light behind the screen.
- Place the monitor directly in front of you.
Placing the monitor directly in front of you prevents you from twisting your head and neck from viewing the screen.
- Place the top line of the screen at or slightly (0-30 degrees) below eye level.
According to ergonomics expert and professor Dr. Alan Hedge, “When you are seated comfortably, a user’s eyes should be in line with a point on the screen about 2-3″ below the top of the monitor casing (not the screen). Sit back in your chair at an angle of around 100-110 degrees (i.e. slight recline) and hold your right arm out horizontally, your middle finger should almost touch the center of the screen. From that starting position you can then make minor changes to screen height and angle to suit. Research shows the center of the monitor should be about 17-18 degrees below horizontal for optimal viewing, and this is where it will be if you follow the simple arm extension/finger pointing tip. You actually see more visual field below the horizon than above this (look down a corridor and you’ll see more of the floor than the ceiling), so at this position the user should comfortably be able to see more of the screen. If the monitor is too low, you will crane their neck forwards, if it’s too high you’ll tilt their head backwards and end up with neck/shoulder pain.”
- Place the monitor at least an arm’s length away from you.
The monitor should be at a comfortable distance away from you, allowing you to view the entire screen without too much twisting of your head and neck.
- Place the monitor so you can clearly read the screen without bending your head, neck or trunk forward or backward.
By now you’ve probably noticed a common theme. You need to place your monitor to reduce awkward postures. Get your monitor in the right position and your neck and shoulders will thank you!
Get Up and Move!
We can’t end an article on office ergonomics without reminding you to get up and move! You are a workplace athlete and your body is designed for movement. There is no magical, perfect posture that will keep your body safe in the office. Invest in your health and wellbeing by taking stretch breaks and getting in some form of movement every day.
Are Computer Glasses Worth It?
Written By: Celia Vimont
Reviewed By: Rahul Khurana, MD
Apr. 27, 2017
Eyeglasses that claim to filter out blue light from computers, smartphones and tablets are becoming increasingly popular. Ads for these glasses claim overexposure to blue light can cause a number of problems. The problems supposedly linked to blue light range from dry eyes to digital eye strain, sleep cycle disruption and even macular degeneration, which causes people to lose some or all of their central vision. However there is no evidence that the kind or amount of light coming from computer screens is damaging to the eyes.
"People are very worried that we're looking at our screens more than we ever did," American Academy of Ophthalmology spokesman Rahul Khurana, MD, told Business Insider. "Everyone is very concerned that it may be harmful to the eye, and it's a valid concern, but there's no evidence it may be causing any irreversible damage."
The Academy does not recommend any special eye wear for computer use.
Should You Be Worried About Blue Light and Computer Radiation?
There is evidence that some kinds of light exposure can cause eye damage under certain conditions. For instance, too much exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun does raise the risks of eye diseases, including cataracts, growths on the eye and cancer.
The amount of radiation coming from a computer has never been demonstrated to cause any eye disease. A study reprinted by the National Library of Medicine found no measurable UVA or UVB radiation from computer monitors. UV radiation is the most harmful part of sunlight for eyes and skin. The Radiation Protection Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology summarizes current research about computer monitors’ radiation by saying that "there are no data to suggest a health risk from exposure to the electromagnetic fields associated with the use of monitors."
Long hours staring at digital screens can cause eye strain, and decreased blinking associated with computer use can cause dry eyes. But these effects are caused by how people use their screens, not by anything coming from the screens.
You can protect your eyes from strain if you work with computers all day:
- Sit about 25 inches (arm's length) from the computer screen. Position the screen so you are gazing slightly downward.
- Reduce screen glare by using a matte screen filter if needed.
- Take regular breaks using the “20-20-20” rule: every 20 minutes, shift your eyes to look at an object at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.
- When your eyes feel dry, use artificial tears to refresh them.
- Adjust your room lighting and try increasing the contrast on your screen to reduce eye strain.
- If you wear contact lenses, give your eyes a break by wearing your glasses.
Many eye symptoms caused by computer use are only temporary and will lessen after you stop using the computer.
The Academy recommends that everyone get a baseline eye exam by the age of 40. Getting regular comprehensive eye exams from an ophthalmologist is critical to diagnosing any potential eye disease in its early stages.
The Academy also recommends that people over age 65 get an exam every one to two years, even if they have no symptoms of eye problems.
The proper way to sit at your desk while at work:
As you stand in front of your chair, adjust the height so the highest point of the seat (when in the horizontal position) is just below the knee cap. When you sit down, your feet should be flat on the floor, with your knees at a 90° angle, the ideal lower body position for sitting down at a desk.
Use the 30-30 rule:
For every 30 minutes at your desk, move and stretch for 30 seconds.
Contact the Rehab department at JCHC for more information or to make an appointment with one of our Physical Therapists