When one thinks of occupational hazards, the work that is undertaken by graphic designers rarely comes to mind. It might be a fairly sedentary job, but that doesn’t mean that it comes without risk. The vast majority of designers spend almost the entirety of our working day staring at screens, often having to look closely at the most minute details.

The side effects of this can be devastating. Studies have shown how long stretches of screen-time can cause serious, lasting, and potentially debilitating eye damage in workers. With graphic design being one of the most screen-intensive industries in the world, it is vital that you take the appropriate steps to protect yourself and maintain good eye health. Here’s what you can do today. 

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Monitor Positioning Matters

The first step you should take to protect your eyes is to adjust your computer monitors so that they are positioned in a way that reduces the need for your eyes to strain themselves. Your monitor should be at least an arm’s length away from your eyes, ideally with the top of the screen being perfectly level with your eyes. You should be looking down slightly to see the center of the screen, but only just. You can also consult the professionals over at Ergotron to find out exactly how you should be arranging your desk space.

Invest in the Right Glasses

It is absolutely crucial that you invest in the right eyeglasses and actually use them while you are working. Even if you don’t think you need to wear them all the time, you probably do. You can buy virtually any and all types of glasses online from Glasses USA, so there is no excuse at all for not using the correct eyewear. 285 million people worldwide are visually impaired, so you’re not alone by any stretch. When you know what your correct prescription and preferred style are, you can also go down the money-saving route by buying cheap glasses from eyewear discounters.

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Adjust Your Settings

Your screen setting will play a significant role in the level of damage your eyes receive during your working day. There are many adjustments you can make to ensure that your monitor is as eye-friendly as it can possibly be. There are a few simple, golden rules you can follow, to begin with. First, opt for dark backgrounds with large, bright text wherever possible (you can easily add this setting to your Windows computer). You should also reduce screen glare by switching to Night Mode or Sleepy Mode. Free programs such as F.Lux will also automatically adjust your screen settings to the safest mode for you.

Break and Blink

It is also crucial that you remember to give your eyes some much-needed downtime through the working day. You should be blinking as much as possible to prevent your eyes from drying out and deteriorating. For breaks, a popular method to follow is the so-called ‘20-20-20 rule‘. This states that every 20 minutes, you should step away from your monitors and look at something that is 20 feet away, for at least 20 seconds. This will help you to rest and readjust your eyes.

With these simple tips, you will be able to maintain good eye health in the workplace. Remember, your eyes deserve as much care and attention as any other part of your body.

About the Author

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Mirko Humbert

Mirko Humbert is the editor-in-chief and main author of Designer Daily and Typography Daily. He is also a graphic designer and the founder of WP Expert.