BLINK YOUR eyes often to avoid eyestrain if you work for long hours before a computer screen. Sounds like a too simple suggestion? But, it works. Dr. B. Abdul Rawoof, Ophthalmologist at the Manipal Hospital, says that staring too long at Video Display Terminals can have several adverse effects on health. The earliest studies on VDT effects were carried out abroad in the Seventies when computers were just becoming common in workplaces. In India, computers have become an essential fixture in large offices in recent years and their impact on the health of users just beginning to be studied. Spending too long looking at computer screens has three different kinds of effects: radiation related, ergonomic and general stress. As far as radiation goes, the computer user is exposed to ionising radiation, IR and UV radiation and microwaves besides VLF Sound Waves from the computer transformer. But, it has been scientifically proved that the radiation has to be 10,000 times stronger than from any computer to have serious health hazards. Which means, radiation effects increase when you spend longer hours continuously in front of the computer. However, continuously looking at the computer screen does affect your eyes. The itching and burning feeling you feel in the eyes towards end of the working day, can be relieved simply by blinking more often, which relieves 'dry eye symptom'. Also, by taking a break from the computer at least every two hours and if possible, more often. Eyestrain from computers can cause what doctors call the 'Mc Collough Effect' which results in your beginning to see colors on white surfaces like, on the edges of a white paper. Correcting refractive errors or eyesight defects long short sight, can help in avoiding this. Get your eyes tested and start wearing corrective glasses if needed. This is a must if you have to spend long hours looking at a computer screen. The visual effects of computer screens are related to high glare, lighting, screen resolution and the work environment, says Dr. Rawoof. Some of these can be avoided by using computers with low radiation screens and just by sitting at least 50 cm to 60 cm away from the screen. And by avoiding long hours, say not more than six hours a day, in front of the computer. Proper overhead lighting and using chairs which are well designed with proper arm rests, help. Do not 'slouch' in front of the computer and do not keep the screen too bright. By preventing strain on the eyes, neck and back you can reduce the effects of work related stress to a large extent


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