Healthy Computing: Make It Readable

Optimize your performance and prevent computer-related injuries with
Healthy Computing Email Tips. Each week we provide hints to help you stay
healthier while working.


Are you putting your nose to the screen to read the tiny icons, symbols
and text? In many cases the icons and text are smaller and more difficult
to read when the monitor or flat screen has been upgraded with a screen
that has higher resolution. Reduce squinting and and bending your neck to
get closer to the screen when you MAKE IT READABLE.

HOW TO MAKE IT READABLE:*
Readability depends upon your capacity to focus your eyes to see the
screen and the actual size of the visual object. For many people older
than 40, special computer glasses may significantly improve vision and
reduce neck strain. Reading and focusing is easier when the icons and text
are larger. Following are instructions for PC users.

Increase the size of the text and icons by changing screen resolution:

  • Adjust the screen resolution so that the items and text are large enough
    for comfortable viewing. In most cases, the monitor resolution can be
    reduced through the software (e.g. from 1280 x 1024 to 1024 x 800). To
    do this, left click on Start button, left click on Control Panel,
    double left click the icon labeled Display (for XP you will need to
    click on Appearances and Themes, then on Display), left click on the
    tab labeled Settings, left click and drag the tab underneath Screen
    resolution to the left–the numbers of resolution change as you move
    the tab, left click on Apply.

Optimize screen for vision:

  • Adjust the height of the monitor so that the top is at eyebrow level.
  • Adjust the monitor so that it is about an arms length away from the eyes
    (about 23-28 inches). If it is too close, it may be possible to pull
    your desk away from the wall so that the monitor can be pushed
    backwards.

  • Prevent reflection and glare by blocking bright light sources, or by
    moving the monitor location so that it is at right angle to or blocking
    the light source.

  • Reduce light contrast: namely, if it is dark in the room, turn on
    lights; if it is too bright, close a curtain or turn off lights.

Reduce eyestrain:

  • Blink frequently.
  • Rest your eyes by looking away from the monitor at the far distance.
  • If possible, close your eyes and allow your face and jaw to relax when
    speaking on the phone.

*We thank Ray Grott for these helpful suggestions.

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Erik Peper PhD Written by Erik Peper PhD

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