Visual Display Units and Eye Strain.

We had a visit from Moorfields Eye Hospital last week and they have kindly provided us some information on Visual Display Units (VDUs) and how they can affect our eyes. 


Visual Display Units (VDU) are devices or equipment that have an alphanumeric or graphic display screen. This includes all display screens, laptops, touch screens, smartphones and other similar devices.


Employees are now spending more time in front of screens than ever before. Visual problems, which otherwise go undetected, can be elicited with frequent VDU use. People are not always aware their fatigue is specifically related to their eyes so often do not seek eye examination. People may be told they have good vision and no need for glasses for distance, but if a specific VDU assessment is not done, problems can go undetected.




The following may help users:

  • Forearms should be approximately horizontal and the user’s eyes should be the same height as the top of the screen.
  • Make sure there is enough work space to accommodate all documents or other equipment. A document holder may help avoid awkward neck and eye movements.
  • Arrange the desk and screen to avoid glare, or bright reflections. This is often easiest if the screen is not directly facing windows or bright lights.
  • Adjust curtains or blinds to prevent intrusive light.
  • Try not to sit directly under A/C units, where possible use an air humidifier to add lost moister to the air
  • Take frequent breaks
  • Make sure there is space under the desk to move legs.
  • Avoid excess pressure from the edge of seats on the backs of legs and knees. A footrest may be helpful, particularly for smaller users.


If you spend more than 3-4hours a day working from a screen and suffer from any of the following, please seek a VDU screening* exam carried out by a registered Orthoptist and Optometrist:

  • Sore/gritty eyes
  • Visual fatigue
  • Intermittent blurring
  • Headaches
  • Double vision
  • Difficultly maintaining concentration
  • Reduced productivity towards the end of the working day


*VDU screening is a collection of diagnostic tests which allow diagnosis and treatment of eye problems specifically associated with VDU use. Contact for more information for you and/or your staff.


on air