The Keys to Good Visual Hygiene for Preventing Eye Damage

Visual hygiene is all about very simple measures such as taking care of your posture in front of the computer or paying attention to the lighting in the workplace. Learn more in this article!
The Keys to Good Visual Hygiene for Preventing Eye Damage
Leonardo Biolatto

Written and verified by the doctor Leonardo Biolatto.

Last update: 27 May, 2022

What are the keys to good visual hygiene? Although its name is a bit confusing, this doesn’t simply refer to cleaning your eyes. In fact, it’s a medical concept that goes further. It’s a set of simple rules that can help to prevent damage to your vision.

In other words, visual hygiene consists of changing certain habits, such as the distance between your eyes and your book, to take care of your eyesight. This can also be called visual ergonomics.

These standards of visual hygiene have become even more important today. In modern times, we spend almost all of our days in front of mobile and computer screens, either for work or simply out of habit.

All of this makes our vision increasingly problematic. Most of the population actually ends up needing glasses at some point in their life, or suffers from some type of problem, such as eyestrain, myopia or something else.

So, in this article we explain what visual hygiene consists of and what simple rules can help you prevent or reduce vision problems. Carry on reading to find out the keys to good visual hygiene.

Visual hygiene standards for work

A worker looking tired.

Currently, most jobs are office-based and require being in front of a computer or a screen. Similarly, from a very young age, children spend hours and hours in front of a book or looking at whiteboards in class.

This means that, during all those hours, we are continuously straining our eyesight. Also, we don’t pay attention to our posture, nor do we allow our eyes to rest. All of this can add up and end up damaging our sense of vision.

Visual hygiene, when reading or writing, requires just a few very simple rules. If you apply them, over time you’ll notice that at the end of the day your eyes no longer cause you as much discomfort. You might even find that your vision has improved. Some of these rules are the following:

  • You have to pay attention to posture. This is especially important when it comes to children, as a habit of bad posture can take its toll in the future. Ideally, you should sit up straight in a chair. Your feet should touch the ground, and you should avoid being hunched over.
  • The first rule leads us to another: you have to choose your workplace well. It’s essential that the chair and desk we use allow us to be comfortable. Some experts recommend that you use a chair with an adjustable height and that the table can be tilted based on your preferences.
  • Lastly, for good visual hygiene, we must take care of the lighting. Working with little light causes us to squint while a very intense light can also irritate our eyes. We must use lighting that doesn’t go directly into our eyes and doesn’t cause reflections on paper or screen.

What other visual hygiene guidelines are there?

A woman in front of a screen.

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One of the most important ways of taking care of our visual hygiene is by taking breaks. That’s right, resting during work or study is absolutely necessary. It allows our mind to improve its performance, and it’s no different for our eyes.

When we look at a nearby object for a period of time, our eyes get tired. As such, it’s always recommended that every half hour of work you should take a little break, even for a minute, in order to rest your eyes.

What are the keys to good visual hygiene? Although its name is a bit confusing, this doesn’t refer to cleaning your eyes. In fact, it’s a medical concept that goes further. It’s a set of simple rules that can help to prevent causing damage to your vision.

On the other hand, another important factor in visual hygiene is the distance at which we stand from what we want to see. The best bit of advice, in the case of a book or a screen, is to maintain a distance at least around the length of our forearm.

However, it’s not just the workplace that requires care and attention. Simple and everyday activities such as watching television are also crucial when thinking about the keys to visual hygiene. In this case, it’s especially important to monitor the distance, which should be about seven times the size of the screen.

In conclusion

Visual hygiene comprises a series of very simple rules, which include taking care of our posture in front of a book or a computer, which helps us to improve our vision and avoid problems later in life.

However, the most important thing is to always seek the advice of an ophthalmologist with any questions about visual problems. They are best suited to assess your visual hygiene and can give specific advice on what is best for you.

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The contents of this publication are for informational purposes only. At no time can they serve to facilitate or replace the diagnoses, treatments, or recommendations of a professional. Consult with your trusted specialist if you have any doubts and seek their approval before beginning any procedure.