What Every Computer Programmer Needs to Know About Eyesight

Computer programmer working in the dark

Plenty of working professionals from marketing specialists to librarians spend much of their time in front of a computer screen, but for computer programmers, excessive screen time is a guarantee. Treat your body like the temple God intended it to be, and take proactive steps to care for your eyesight and your overall wellness.

The Risks of Blue Light

Light rays are complex. They can be visible or invisible, and red, orange, yellow, green or blue depending on the wavelength. Blue light is visible sunlight that ranges from 380 to 500 nanometers. Blue light is plentiful in natural sunlight, but it also comes from man-made sources like computer screens and smartphones. A moderate amount of blue light exposure by itself is not harmful; it can even be healthy. In recent years, however, ophthalmology researchers have become increasingly concerned about the amount of blue light reaching computer users’ retinas. Too much blue light is thought to increase the risk of macular degeneration and digital eyestrain.

The Methods of Minimizing Blue Light Exposure

Computer programmers can manually adjust their monitors to emit warmer color temperatures. This is particularly helpful when the work environment is slightly dark. You might also consider using specially made digital device filters on your computer screen, tablet and smartphone. These filters reduce the amount of blue light emitted. Some eye care experts recommend using special computer glasses designed to filter out blue light, although this technology is unproven.

The 20-20-20 Rule

The 20-20-20 rule is recommended by ophthalmologists to minimize digital eyestrain. Computer programmers are particularly susceptible to digital eyestrain, which is characterized by these symptoms:

  • Dry or watery eyes
  • Sore, tired or burning eyes
  • Itchy eyes
  • Blurry vision
  • Double vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Headache
  • Stiffness of the neck, shoulders or upper back

To protect yourself from these uncomfortable symptoms, just remember the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, look away from your computer screen and focus your eyes on an object about 20 feet away. Continue looking at this object for about 20 seconds before returning your attention to your work.

The Basics of Healthy Eyes

Remember that everyone needs routine eye exams, whether or not you think your vision has changed. Ophthalmologists do check your vision, but they also look for early signs of problems like cataracts, macular degeneration, dry eyes and diabetic retinopathy. Even if your vision prescription stays the same, you should schedule an eye exam every one to two years. Be sure to mention any issues you are having, such as digital eyestrain or dry eyes. Your eye doctor may recommend switching to a different brand of contact lenses that ease dry eyes. Computer programmers should also consider wearing eyeglasses instead of contacts about once per week to give their eyes a break.

Gain a competitive edge in today’s IT career field with a degree from an accredited school. Grand Canyon University’s College of Science, Engineering and Technology offers a range of modern degree programs, including a Bachelor of Science in Computer Programming. Use the Request More Information button on this page to begin your academic journey on our faith-based campus.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.


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