* Take eye breaks. Throughout the day, give your eyes a break by forcing them to focus on something other than on your screen. Try the following exercise: Hold a finger a few inches in front of your face; focus on the finger as you slowly move it away; focus on something far in the distance and then back to the finger; slowly bring the finger back toward your face. Next, shift your focus to something farther than eight feet away and hold your eyes there for a few seconds. Repeat this exercise three times, several times a day.
* Change the pace. Try to stand up and move around at least once every hour or so. If possible, lean back and close your eyes for a few moments. At the very least, try to give yourself a five-minute rest every hour. Do other work, such as phone calls or filing, during this time.
* Blink often to refresh your eyes. Because many people blink less than normal when working at a computer, dry eyes can result from prolonged computer use. Blinking produces tears that can help moisten and lubricate your eyes. Make a conscious effort to blink more often.
* Consider using artificial teardrops. Available over the counter, artificial tears can help relieve dry eyes that result from prolonged sessions at the computer.
* Practice relaxation. Ease muscle tension with this relaxation exercise: Place your elbows on your desk, palms facing up; let your weight fall forward and your head fall into your hands; position your head so that your eyebrows rest on the base of your palms, with your fingers extended toward your forehead; close your eyes and take a deep breath through your nose; hold it for four seconds, then exhale. Continue this deep breathing for 15 to 30 seconds. Perform this simple exercise several times a day.
* Get appropriate eyewear. If you wear glasses or contacts, make sure the correction is right for computer work. Most lenses are fitted for reading print and may not be optimal for computer work. Glasses or contact lenses designed specifically for computer work may be a worthwhile investment.