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Staring At A Computer Screen All Day

Published on 8 May, 2015
Jean Fisher
Content Manager
  1. Why should the top, and not the middle, of the monitor be level with my eyes?

The relaxed viewing angle for eyes is a downward gaze of approximately 15° from the horizontal. If you position your monitor so that your eyes are level with the top of the casing (and it is the correct distance away), your eyes will look downward when relaxed and you will focus on the middle of the screen—where most of the work is performed. In contrast, if your screen is positioned so that your eyes are level with the middle of the screen, you will actually focus on the bottom of the screen and will have to tilt your head back to see information at the top of the screen.

  1. Does using display screen equipment cause eyesight deterioration?

There is no evidence to suggest that display screen equipment affects eyesight in the long term. However it can have a short-term effect in the form of visual fatigue. To prevent visual fatigue at the end of the day, you should take regular breaks from the screen every 45-60 min. During this break you should refocus your eyes by looking at a distant object (e.g. an object out of the window) for a few minutes.

  1. Is a wrist rest good for my wrists?

No! When typing you should hold your wrists in a neutral position: flat, not angled upwards or downwards. Your wrists should not rest on anything. However, if you are leaning your wrist on the desk when typing and causing the wrists to be angled upwards then it may be beneficial to use a support to ensure your wrists lie flat. This is commonly known as a “wrist rest”, but is better termed a palm support because you should only rest the base of your hands on the support when typing and not your wrists. Don’t think a wrist rest will help with pain in the wrists. Report any pain and ask for an occupational health assessment.

4. How often should I have my eyes tested?

We recommend that people get their eyes tested every 1-2 years. Glasses and contact lens wearers should ensure that they have the correct prescription. The Regulations give display screen equipment users an entitlement to eye and eyesight tests. Any costs relating to “corrective appliances” (e.g. spectacles) needed specifically for display screen work and any costs relating to the test should be borne by the employers.

  1. How can I avoid glare on the screen?

There are two types of glare that can affect users: direct (e.g. light from a window into the eyes) and indirect (e.g. reflection of the window on the screen). This question is normally asked with reference to indirect glare. There are several things that can be done to combat this type of glare. In order of effectiveness they are: move the screen 90° to windows and tilt the monitor downwards so that the screen is vertical.


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