Quick Tip:
Pampering Your Two Most Precious Assets

As a graphic designer, your most important assets are probably your eyes. And since you spend a great deal of time in front of a computer staring at a monitor, you need to take special care of them. So we checked with noted ophthalmologist Robert Ewing, MD, for advice. Here's what he recommends:

If you have persistent “floaters” in your vision or experience pain in your eyes, see a doctor immediately. These can be signs of serious problems like cataracts or glaucoma.

But absent these warning signs, you can still experience tired eyes and cloudy or blurred vision. This happens because your monitor's “flicker rate” causes you to blink less, which dries out your eyes. This is a problem that affects graphic designers more than it does writers, because you spend more time looking directly at the screen.

Dr. Ewing says to use over-the-counter “artificial tears” to keep your eyes moist.

When you sit down to work, set a timer for 30-45 minutes. When it buzzes, tilt your head back, put one or two drops of artificial tears in both eyes. Stand up, stretch, walk around a bit, or make a cup of tea. Spend at least 5 minutes away from the monitor. Then sit down … and set the timer again.

Your eyes will thank you for taking these regular breaks (and so will the rest of your body).

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Published: May 18, 2006

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