Migraines and computer-based careers – the ultimate catch 22. You can’t live with migraines but you can’t live without your job. What’s a migraineur to do? If your job requires that you spend majority of your day starring into the invasive glow of a computer monitor, you’ve likely felt the onset of migraine symptoms as a result. That’s because computer monitors can cause a tremendous amount of stress on your eyes, especially when settings and placement aren’t appropriately adjusted. Here are some must know tips for the heavy computer user who experiences migraine attacks:
1. Adjust Your Monitor’s Refresh Rate
The refresh rate indicates how many times per second your computer screen renews its image. When rates are set too low, monitors can imperceptibly flicker, causing your eyes to strain more than necessary. Go to: computer preferences, display properties, advanced settings. The refresh rate frequency is measured in hertz. You’ll want to set this rate as high as it will go to reduce eyestrain.
2. Change the View Mode
Did you know that your computer offers different display settings depending on what you view most? Make sure your display mode is set to ‘photo’ if you deal with images, ‘film’ for frequent video display or ‘text’ if your screen is most commonly filled with words. Your screen will adjust to give you the best viewing experience.
3. Properly Stage Your Work Space
Many people fail to realize that the set-up of their desk has everything to do with triggering migraine symptoms. To begin with, your monitor should be placed directly in front of your face, not off to one side or the other. This reduces neck strain and supports a more direct and therefore effortless line of vision. Next, be sure that your monitor is place between 20 and 40 inches away from your face. If the screen is too close or too far away, it could be causing unnecessary eyestrain. Additionally, monitors should sit at eye level to reduce slouching, which can lead to tension and migraine symptoms. Adjust your chair so that the computer screen properly aligns with your eyes. Lastly, make sure there is no glair on your monitor from another light source. Glares make your eyes work extra hard to focus and this will undoubtedly encourage migraine symptoms.
4. Adjust Brightness
The brightness of your computer screen should blend with the brightness around your computer screen. If you work in a dim office and stare at an ultra-bright display, your eyes are being forced to operate under two seriously contrasting environments. You guessed it – this causes strain, which beckons the mighty migraine symptoms you suffer from. Your office should provide a well-lit workspace. If it does not, consider toning down your screen brightness and investing in a desk lamp.
5. Change the Font Size
If you catch yourself squinting to make out text or notice that by the end of the day, your face feels tired or strained, you may need to adjust your font size. Your eyes won’t need to work so hard to read, reducing the risk of triggering migraine symptoms.
6. Practice Good Posture
When you slouch in your chair for eight-plus hours a day, five days a week, month after month, your body is enduring negative pressure and alignment that impacts the spine and can contribute to the onset of migraine symptoms. Try making a conscious effort to sit up straight with your shoulders back and your chin up. Retraining your body to accept this posture could help reduce stress and tension on your body that may be a trigger to your migraine symptoms.
7. Take Stretch Breaks
Say what you will about frequent breaks but for the sake of migraine symptoms, they are entirely necessary. Stand up every so often and stretch your back, shoulders and neck to alleviate pressure. Allow your eyes to rest a moment away from the glow of your computer monitor. Frequent breaks will refresh your body and brain while improving circulation, which is excellent for migraine prevention.
8. Get an Eye Exam
If you believe you have 20/20 vision, it still doesn’t hurt to get those peepers check out. Tell your optometrist that you work on a computer all day and suffer from chronic migraines. They may recommend a light prescription for viewing monitors at close range so that your eyes won’t need to work as hard as they do to focus in on text and images. If you already have glasses, make sure your prescription is up-to-date. Your eyes change over time and should be periodically checked to ensure the lenses you wear are still the best fit for your vision requirements.
You may also be interested in this article: Learn about Retinal Migraines
9. Try Using Computer Glasses
Computer glasses are a type of specialty eyewear that will optimize the visual experience of working on a computer screen. They reduce glare, increase contrast and maximize what you see through the lenses to make computer work easier on the eyes.
10. Clean Your Computer Screen
Dust reduces sharpness, which in turn, makes your eyes work harder than they have to. Use a monitor-safe micro cloth to keep your computer screen dust free, smug free and easy to read.
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In general, heavy computer users should focus on keeping their eyes happy and their bodies loose. Stress and tension can be serious triggers for migraine attacks and once one sets in, starring at a computer screen is physically impossible. Set up your workspace properly. Be mindful of dust and glares that can inhibit your ability to see what’s on the screen. Have your eyes looked at by a doctor and consider wearing glasses that were specifically designed to assist eyes with computer work. Following these tips will reduce tensions that can cause migraine attacks and preserve the health of your eyes.
Image Source: Moeshesh