Eye Information

Here you will find a wealth of information relating to your eyes. Please select an option from the menu on the left and the information will appear below...

It is generally agreed that using computers does not cause damage to the eyes, but visual discomfort is frequently reported by VDU operators.

Symptoms of eye discomfort include irritable eyes, itching, pricking or grittiness, visual fatigue and sometimes headaches.

The most common causes of visual fatigue are uncorrected focusing errors of the eyes (astigmatism and longsightedness in particular) and poor co-ordination between the eyes. It is also important to take breaks away from the screen at least 5-10 minutes per hour and look away into the distance if you cannot get up and away from the screen to allow the eyes to relax.

Frequent eye examinations will reveal the presence of any uncorrected prescription and spectacles, contact lenses or eye exercises can be prescribed to help.

If you are classed as a VDU user, your employer will pay for your initial eye examination which should be before you start work on a VDU and at regular intervals (usually every 2 years) as specified by the examining optometrist.

In most cases, spectacles prescribed for general purpose ie distance or reading will work for the VDU in which case the employer does not have to contribute to the cost of spectacles.

In cases where the normal spectacles are ineffective, there may be a specific need for special spectacles focused at the VDU screen. This is usually confined to the over 50's who lack the focusing power of younger patients.

There are a number of other causes of problems working at VDUs

Seating

Your seat should be positioned so that you can work with your forearms parallel to the worksurface with both feet on the ground or a footrest. You should adjust the seat height and backrest to support you comfortably.

Workstation layout

Check your screen is at a comfortable distance for you to see it clearly, with your spectacles on if used, and that it is clean. The screen should be adjusted so you are looking slightly down at it, but that it is square on.

Make sure you have no reflections in the screen of lights or windows which can reduce legibility of the screen or fit an anti-glare filter.

Make sure your documents are well lit (using an angle poise light if necessary) without reflecting in your screen. Use a document holder in the same plane as the screen and close to it so you can glance between the copy and screen without having to constantly refocus your eyes.

Ensure you adjust the brightness and contrast of the screen to suit youself.

Ventilation, humidity and temperature

Adequate ventilation, humidity control and temperature control contribute to effective and comfortable VDU use. Many offices with air conditioning are low in humidity which contributes to a build up of static electricity on the screen. This causes disruption in the tear film and can cause uncomfortable contact lenses and sometimes sore eyes.

The best way to keep static build up to a minimum is to keep your screen clean.

My employer does not seen to have a policy on VDU use - what can I do?

All employers need to be aware of the need to comply with legislation protecting employees working on VDUs. More information on this can be found in our Corporate Eyecare section of this website. We suggest you read the information and approach your line manager or HR (Human Resources) manager for help. We will be happy to speak to your employer on your behalf.