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Have you ever experienced the following phenomenon? You go to the eye doctor to have your eyes examined. While you’re there, you can see perfectly. Your doctor recommends either the same prescription you had before or only a mildly updated one. It all makes sense. Then you get home or back to the office, and your vision is blurred and you start to feel the eyestrain again.

You’re not alone. This is actually a fairly common problem with people who live or work in environments with poor lighting. Because your ophthalmologist or optometrist is an expert in vision and eye care, the office is almost always an example of perfect (or as near perfect as possible) lighting. It’s not too bright or too dark, and you’re never looking at a television or computer screen that’s much brighter or much dimmer than the lighting in the room.

If you’ve experienced this issue, the problem is most likely the lighting in your home or office, not in your eye doctor’s techniques or prescription. Fortunately, you can remedy the situation with just a little bit of observation and a few simple changes to your lighting.

DISCOMFORT GLARE

If your computer screen is much brighter or dimmer than the lighting in the rest of the room, your eyes will fight to focus on it or to shift back and forth between it and other objects or people you need to look at throughout the day. To fix this, take a look at your office.

Is your computer in front of a window? While it’s great to have a view while you type, you might want to angle your computer so that you’re not looking at your screen on a backdrop of sunlight filtering in through the window. In this case, the light outside is brighter than your screen, which is causing what some ophthalmologists call “discomfort glare.” After you’ve angled your monitor away, do some work for a while and see if the problem subsides.

You can also test to see if your overhead lights are too bright in contrast with your monitor’s brightness by working while wearing a baseball cap or other brimmed hat that blocks out the overheads. If this is more comfortable, the problem is with the discrepancy between your monitor and your overhead lights. If you can’t have the overheads dimmed, you may want to turn up the brightness on your monitor.

EXPERIMENT WITH THE LIGHTING AT HOME

If you experience this phenomenon at home, you might want to experiment with adding desk or floor lamps to different rooms. You may also want to leave some or all of the lights on when you watch TV or movies.

If you use task lighting, such as a stove or sink light, you might want to get a dimmer bulb or add more incandescent lights that shine on the rest of the counter and floor to avoid discomfort from a contrast in lighting here. Get tips from either your ophthalmologist or a lighting expert at a home furnishing or lighting store to help improve vision in your everyday life.

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