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Computing & Information Services Newsletter
Health & Computers

When using a computer as part of your job--or even for personal tasks--it's easy to spend a long time sitting in one position looking at the screen. Just as the best running shoes can't prevent physical problems if you run too much, even an ideal computer setup can't prevent fatigue and soreness if you sit at your desk for hours at a time.

It may take some conscious effort and discipline on your part, but it is important to take frequent breaks- even if they're only of short duration- to rest your eyes and move your body. Stand up and stretch. Walk around. And try to organise your work throughout the day so that you alternate using your computer with other activities that don't use the same muscle groups.

If your eyes feel dry while you're using the computer, blink them a number of times or close them tightly for several seconds. As with any visually intensive activity, to prevent muscle fatigue that can lead to blurred vision and headaches, occasionally look at objects much further away than the display--6 metres or more. Of course, make sure you're wearing the right glasses or contact lenses if you need them, and have your eyes examined regularly.,

And always, if you experience persistent pain while using your computer, consult a qualified health professional. Better yet, ask your health advisors for suggestions on developing healthy work habits now to prevent problems in the future

Checklist for setting up computer workstations

  • Adjust your chair height so your feet are flat on the floor.
  • Position you keyboard so your elbows are at the same height as the keyboard and your wrists have little or no tilt.
  • Position your mouse at the same height as your keyboard.
  • Set up your display so the top of the screen is at or slightly below eye level.
  • Position the screen so it doesn't reflect glare into your eyes.
  • Keep your screen clean
  • Make sure your display's brightness and contrast controls are properly adjusted.
  • Place your laser printer in a well-ventilated area and make sure it receives regular maintenance.
  • Alternate working at the computer with tasks that use different muscles.
  • Take frequent breaks to rest your eyes and move your body.

Visit a qualified health professional if persistent pain develops while using your computer.

For more information

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