You aren't alone: about 88% of all people who work with computers experience a type of eyestrain known as Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS). After all, a computer screen isn't exactly the most natural thing to look at. Perhaps a couple of thousands of years of evolution would solve the problem ... but I am sure you aren't prepared to wait this long.
Fortunately there are a few simple things you can do to minimize computer eyestrain.
1. From time to time look into the distance, to readjust the focus of your eyes
The human eye has trouble staying focused on computer images and text. Our eyes involuntary drift away, so we tend to force them to remain focused on the screen.
This flexing of the eyes' focusing muscles, all day long, is a real struggle for your eyes. So take your gaze away from the screen as often as possible. The key, here, is not to take long breaks but to take frequent breaks. Every few minutes look away from the screen and focus on a far away object - out the window, for example.
2. If you wear contact lenses go for the best quality not the lowest price
Because computer users blink less often, their eyes tend to dry out, and some contact lenses contribute to this dryness even more. Ask your doctor to prescribe contact lenses that don't dry your eyes.
Acuvue Advance with Hydroclear or Focus Night and Day might work well for you.
If money is an issue, you can get discount contact lenses online. This usually turns out to be 50% - or more - cheaper than buying them from the doctor's office.
3. Close your eyes for a few seconds
Because looking at the computer is a constant struggle for the eyes, people concentrate and tend to blink much less often than normal. This causes dryness of the eyes.
It is difficult to force yourself to blink more often, but you can close your eyes every time you are waiting for your machine to do something.
4. Take a short break every hour
It is recommended that you take 10 minutes away from the computer for every 50 minutes spent at it. Move around the room, stretch your back and do a few simple exercises.
If you can teach yourself the habit of closing your eyes often, looking away to readjust your focus and taking short but frequent breaks, your eyes and your head will feel much better even after long hours of work.
5. Make page designs "eye friendly"
If you have to do a lot of online research, you probably have seen pages that look like they were designed to inconvenience the reader as much as possible. Don't you love those pages with tiny, white type on a black background?
Most Web browsers let you change the font size of a page; in Internet Explorer it is done by opening the View menu, and then choosing Text Size. And here is a trick for dealing with pages with dark or busy backgrounds: drag your mouse across the text to select it - it inverts the colors, and you will see dark text on a light background, just as nature intended.
6. Whenever possible print pages for reading; don't read from the screen
Reading printed material is much less stressful, for your eyes, than reading from the screen. And you will be more productive too - it is a proven fact that people read printed text 25% faster than they read text from the computer screen.
7. Adjust the light
When working at the computer you don't need a very bright light. Direct sunlight and lighting in most offices are way to bright. Put the blinds down on a sunny day. It is best to turn your monitor so the window is on its side, not in front or behind it. Soft light of a desk lamp from the side is also an option. If the light in the office is too bright, you can wear tinted computer glasses.
8. Adjust the brightness of your monitor
The color white, on your computer screen, shouldn't shine like a light source. You can adjust the brightness of your monitor to a little bit below default. However, remember to keep the contrast high, otherwise it will be even more difficult for your eyes to stay focused.
9. Get your eye examined every 12 months
If you need vision correction it is important that your eyeglasses or contact lenses fit your needs. Wearing corrective eyewear that isn't up-to-date increases the stress on your eyes.
10. Ask your eye doctor about special computer glasses
These are usually multifocal glasses that help you to focus better on computer text. They can also be tinted, which helps if the lights in your office are too bright.
Follow these simple rules and you will notice that, by the end of the day, you won't feel so exhausted and your eyes won't hurt nearly as much, if at all.