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Visual comfort for computer work

Using digital devices can contribute to visual fatigue and discomfort such as headaches and sore eyes.

You may also find yourself in more awkward postures so you can properly see your work, which can lead to neck pain and injury.

Your eyes need to work harder if:

  • the screen is too close or too far
  • you’re working in poor lighting
  • there’s excessive glare, which is commonly due to light shining directly into your eyes or reflected from other surfaces such as the screen, desktop or walls
  • you need to see fine details
  • you need to maintain focus for long periods.

Tips to help visual problems

  • Lighting should let you comfortably see your work tasks through different times of your work shift.
  • Test your vision regularly if you're having any visual difficulties.
  • Make sure your eyewear is up to date and suitable for working at the computer.
  • Check that your monitor brightness, contrast and font size is adjusted for your visual comfort.
  • Use a light-coloured background on your display.
  • Clean your screens regularly.
  • Minimise tilting your screen to reduce potential glare or reflection.
  • Look at objects further away from time to time and take regular breaks away from your screen so your eyes can refocus and moisten back to normal.

Tips for improving lighting and minimising glare and reflection

  • Move your computer workstation or change your lighting so there is minimal glare on your equipment and work surface and avoid:
    • having windows in front or behind where you’re seated
    • sitting directly below overhead lighting.
  • Replace lighting with suitable level of brightness and colour. Lighting levels need to be higher if you’re doing finer detailed work. Under the recommended lighting levels, most computer work requires ordinary levels of lighting.
  • Clean and maintain light fittings regularly.
  • Use task lighting for additional light over your work area. Check that the design and position of any task lighting does not shine into your eyes and create extra glare.
  • Control lighting, glare and reflections with adjustable window coverings, for example blinds or shutters. If you're able to, angle light upwards rather than downwards.
  • Minimise work surfaces and office fittings that increase glare and reflection, for example white desks, shiny surfaces and full-length windows.