A quest to improve health of people working in tech.

Don't look up (for too long)

If the content on your monitor is above the horizon, your body will strain. Place the most important stuff on the horizon, or slightly below.  

Optimal position for the eyes is on the horizon, or slightly below.
Illustration of the optimal eye position in relation to the monitor. Your horizon may vary.

Develop awareness

Try these short experiments to better understand what your eyes like the most, and how they influence the rest of your body.

Feel the tendency to look at the horizon

  1. Sit as you do when you work.
  2. Relax your eyes, but keep them open.
  3. Gently and slowly tilt your head up until your chin is looking at the wall. Your eyes should stay relaxed.

If you can keep your eyes relaxed, you will notice that your eyes want to keep looking at the horizon even when your head is tilting up.

Feel the strain

The effect of this experiment is subtle, so I recommend trying it when you have some peace and quiet.

  1. Sit as you do when you work.
  2. Look straight in front of you with relaxed eyes.
  3. Gently place your fingers on the sides of the back of your neck.
  4. Slowly look up, and allow your head to tilt up if it wants to. Notice what happens to your neck muscles as the position of your eyes changes.
  5. Reset your eyes and the head to look straight.
  6. Place the fingers on your lower back.
  7. Look up again, and notice what happens to your back muscles as the position of your eyes changes.

When you look up, your eyes quickly get tired and tilt your head to make the movement easier. The head tilt then activates your neck and back muscles. The activation is subtle, and that's what makes it dangerous—it's hard to notice until it's too late.

Notice how you work

I encourage you to notice whether you're frequently looking up during your work day. If you do, try to place whatever you're looking at the most closer to the horizon. If it doesn't fit, a tiny bit down is better than up.

Thanks for your time,
Seb. 🙇‍♂️

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Jamie Larson