How to avoid eye strain at work

iStock_000027874724Small_Young businesswoman suffering from eyestrain HOW TO AVOID EYE STRAIN AT WORKYou have a pressing deadline looming and hours more work ahead of you. You start to feel the pounding of a tension headache build… Suddenly, your eyes begin to ache, and it’s difficult to focus on your screen. Eye strain strikes again.


Our eyes are not only a window to our souls; they also provide a crucial link to the outside world, so it pays to look after them. According to the Australian Government’s Comcare, up to 50,000 eye injuries occur in Australia each year with seven in 1000 workers sustaining eye damage. So, in this month of julEYE, we’re giving you some tips on how to avoid eye strain and maintain good eye health at work and home.


Whether the time you log on the computer is for work, personal use, or pleasure, nearly everyone who focuses on a computer screen for extended periods of time experiences eye strain. According to the Optometrists Association of Australia, close to half of all office workers falls prey to eye strain, dry eyes, or another eye condition as a result of extended periods of computer use.


The simplest way to avoid eye strain is by taking occasional breaks when you’re working on the computer. One rule of thumb is known as 20/20/20 – every 20 minutes, focus on an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds.


However, sometimes, remembering to take frequent breaks is easier said than done. If you’ve already begun to experience the symptoms of eye strain, use these simple eye stretches to help alleviate the discomfort.


– Eye circles. Move your eyeballs in a wide circular motion five to ten times in a row. Rest your eyes for a moment and then repeat the exercise in the opposite direction. (This may be easier to do with your eyelids closed.)

– Side-to-side stretches. Open your eyes as wide as possible; look to one side for ten seconds and then shift to the other. Rest for a few seconds and then repeat, aiming for a total of five to ten intervals.

– Up-and-down stretch. Repeat the exercise above, moving your eyes up and down rather than side to side.


Regularly done, these eye exercises can not only alleviate the discomfort of eye strain, but may even help your eyes accrue more strength and stamina, preventing eye strain in the future.



1. Make sure you eat the right amount of fruit and vegetables, rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants including Vitamin D to optimise the health of your eyes and help reduce the risk of macular degeneration, cataracts, even night blindness.

2. Update your prescription regularly if you wear glasses for everyday use or just reading, to prevent eye strain from poorly fitting lenses.

3. If you use dangerous equipment or tools always wear protective goggles.

4. Pay attention to room lighting, as working in a poorly lit environment can place unnecessary strain on your eyes.

5. Since it’s the julEYE national eye health awareness month, why not make this the month to get your eyes tested every year? According to the RANZCO Eye Foundation, seventy-five percent of vision loss is preventable if detected early enough.


Remember, if you experience persistent eye pain in the office, it may be beneficial to consult with a physician or eye specialist.


Click here to access the Australian Government’s Eye Health in the Workplace Fact Sheet.

To find out more about julEYE, visit