Office Eye Syndrome: working at a computer screen is high-performance sport for our eyes.

By Christa Schwandtner, 26.02.2020

“Don’t sit in front of the TV for too long or you’ll get square eyes.” We were often told that in the days of our childhood. The square eyes, though, never appeared, not even after a marathon series. But our parents were not completely wrong with their warnings.  


Even worse than staring at a television screen for a prolonged period, is working at a computer monitor in the office. Instead of square eyes, we suffer from headaches and neck pain; we’re sensitive to light and our eyes feel dry and irritated. It’s not for nothing that these symptoms are known as Office Eye Syndrome.


The Office Eye Syndrome

It’s triggered by hours of concentrated staring at a PC screen. Normally a person blinks about 25 times a minute. Gazing monotonously in front of the screen offers our eyes less incentive to blink. But blinking provides our eyes with the tear fluid they need. In the worst case, chronic dehydration of the cornea can result leading to visual impairment. Environmental influences such as dry air from central heating, poor office lighting and a flickering screen also contribute to Office Eye Syndrome.


We’ve put together some tricks for you to take the strain off your eyes.


  • Adapt your environment.

Particularly in winter, it is important to provide sufficient fresh air to counteract the dry air from central heating. Open the windows wide to air the room or go for a walk during your break.

Dust your workplace regularly. The dust on your computer keyboard in particular can easily find its way into your eyes via your fingers.

Sit parallel to the window and avoid glare on your screen. What’s more: too much contrast in your screen settings strains your eyes far beyond the norm.


  • Pay attention to your health.

An ergonomic office chair not only supports your back, but also prevents you from sitting too close to the screen.

You should drink plenty of water so that your body can produce tear fluid.


  • Give your eyes a rest.

With the 20-20-20 method, you can actively counteract Office Eye Syndrome: After 20 minutes of screen work, look at an object at a distance of 20 feet for 20 seconds – this corresponds to about 7 meters.

A hearty yawn relaxes the facial muscles and promotes the production of tears.

If your eyes start to hurt, rub your hands together and place them gently on your closed eyes for a few seconds. The eye muscles recuperate in warmth and darkness.


If you feel that you’re getting headaches from your work, have your eyes checked by a doctor. Special glasses have been developed for screen work to protect your eyes − provided the headaches are caused by screen work and not by stress or colleagues. 😉

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