Comfortable Computer Usage

Be Fit As You Sit

Location, location, location...or in this case, position, position, position. Sitting at a computer for a long time can take its toll on your body, so it’s important to avoid potential problems.

  • Don’t sit for too long a time. Get up and move around at least once an hour.
  • Your mother’s advice to sit up straight applies when you’re at the computer, too. Find a comfortable position and avoid leaning forward or slouching.
  • Use a padded chair that supports your back. Throw pillows and chair cushions work great if you need additional support. If you have users who are different sizes, get a chair that’s adjustable.
  • Use a foot rest if your feet don’t reach the ground. You’ll place less stress on your legs and lower back. A sturdy box can do the trick if you don’t want to buy a foot rest.
  • Place padded wrist rests in front of your mouse and keyboard so that your arms and wrists are properly positioned. This will cut down the strain on your neck, arms, wrists and fingers.
  • Try a wireless keyboard and mouse if you’re comfortable sitting farther away from the computer than the wires allow.
  • To avoid neck strain, tilt your monitor so that the top of the screen is slightly below eye level. This may be a bit tough if you’re on the smaller side; if that’s the case, keep the text/data you’re looking at toward the middle or lower part of the screen.
  • Ease neck and shoulder strain by using a paper holder (instead of placing papers on your desk) when you’re inputting information from hard copy documents. There are various formats – some attach to your monitor while others sit on your desk – so try the style that’s best for you.

Adjust Your Monitor

Each of us sees the monitor in a slightly different way, and you can fine-tune the display settings to your personal comfort level. If you share a system with others, you may need to adjust the settings when you log on.

Display Properties

  • Right click on your Windows Desktop
  • Select “Properties” – you’ll see the “Display Properties” box
  • Click on “Settings”
  • Adjust the resolution to increase viewing size and color quality as needed
  • Click “OK” to save

Contrast and Brightness Levels

These controls can usually be found as buttons or dials on your monitor. Start by moving them to their mid-range points then adjust up or down to a comfortable level. You may need to adjust the settings as the light in your work area changes, especially if you’re near a window or if there are multiple users on a system.

The Eyes Have It

Looking at a monitor for a long time can affect on your eyes, making them feel tired and even giving you headaches. We’ve summarized some tips from computer and eye care professionals to lessen strain. If you still find it’s uncomfortable to look at the monitor, check with your eye care professional.

  • Place the monitor 20-24 inches away from your eyes.
  • Look away from the screen every few minutes. Close your eyes for several seconds or focus on other things. Take a break every 15-20 minutes.
  • Try to blink often. Use lubricating eye drops if your eyes feel dry.
  • Natural light shining into a room shifts throughout the day and may cause glare on your screen at certain times. Adjust the room lights and/or window coverings or try an anti-glare screen cover. If you wear glasses, ask your eye care professional about a glare-free coating.
  • Those who wear glasses or contact lens may find their prescription doesn’t work as well when looking at the monitor. There are even people who usually don’t wear glasses but find they need them to clearly see the screen. Talk with your eye care professional about special computer glasses or adjusting your prescription.