If you work in a regular office, you’ve probably had the Occupational Health and Safety people through the office. They will have told you that the best thing to do is to put the computer about arm’s length distance from you, and have the top of the monitor level with your eyes.

That’s all well and good from a Occ Health and Safety point of view. However, if you’ve got dry eyes, one thing that’s going on for you is that your tears are evaporating.

The wider your eyes are open, the bigger the area that can evaporate from. In order to reduce tear evaporation, what you want to be able to do is to actually reduce the size of your eyes.

You do this by looking down. That way there’s less cornea and less white part of your eye exposed. Ideally, then, you’d lower the monitor in your visual field so you’re looking down at it slightly. Or, better still, you might even get yourself a laptop.

On the subject of computers, one thing we all tend to do with computer screens is to stare bug-eyed at them. Our blink rate tends to halve, compared to normal. What this means is that your eyes dry out. Whenever you’re on the computer screen, always make sure that you do some good blinking.

The thing about blinking is that it’s really important for two reasons. One, it helps to moisturise the front of your eye. The second thing is it keeps the cornea–that’s the clear dome–nicely moistened, and keeps the tear film that covers the cornea in good condition.

If the tear film starts to deteriorate and break down, then your vision starts to go a little bit funny, a little bit variable. Blinking’s really important, and you need to make sure that you blink with great frequency.

Some people will just stop momentarily as they’re working on the computer screen, and do about 10 or 20 blinks just to kind of really moisten their eyes and really get into the habit of blinking.

The next tip is to look away from the screen every now and again. If you’re by a window, that’s ideal, because what you need to do is look out into the distance. This allows your eye to refocus and stops the muscles from tensing up. This is quite important because a lot of people end up getting quite fatigued from doing excessive close work. So every 20 mins look away from the screen and into the distance.

You might say, “All very well and good. I don’t actually have a window to look out of. I’m just stuck in a little cubicle.”

Well, here’s a tip. What you could do is, you could position a mirror above the computer screen. When you look away from the screen, you just look up, look into the mirror, and then you can see what’s going on behind you. That gives your eyes the illusion of space, but also it enables you to keep up with the gossip that’s going on in the office.

In summary, lower your screen to reduce evaporation, pay attention to blinking, and every 20 mins look away from the screen.