This editorial was originally published on Jan 9, 2006. Steve is traveling to the UK this week and we are reprinting a few older editorials.
It seems that most DBAs that I know are a little bit older and more experienced. It’s fairly rare that I see someone really young, right out of college, early 20s, etc., as a DBA. So when I saw this question on Slashdot about computers and vision, it caught my eye. I’m one of those “visually challenged” individuals that asked the question. And I’ve been working with computers pretty much since 1991 as a career. In middle school I slowly found out that my vision was failing. That was when my career as a baseball catcher ended. With glasses on, I couldn’t pull off the mask without pulling the glasses with them and ensuring that I’d catch the ball with my cheek instead of my glove 🙂
I’m not a 15 hour a day computer user, but I am a 7-8 or more user. Fortunately it’s not all at one stretch. Usually it’s early am, then a break, then most of the day until the kids come home, and then late at night. At least the last few years it’s been like that. Before that I was mostly a 7-8 hour stretch person and a little at night.
Through all that, including 5-6 years of working as a bartender in a late night, smoky atmosphere, I’ve had pretty much the same prescription for about 15 years. I switched to contacts in high school, but since college I’ve pretty much been the same, blind 20-400 in both eyes. I’m getting an eye exam today, so we’ll see if it holds for another year.
I think the person asking the question has other problems, 15 hours a day in front of the computer being the least of them, but it still is worth asking the question. Is a monitor bad for your eyes? Is it any different than staring at anything in a repetitive work environment.
One of the things suggested is a light source behind the monitor. That’s an interesting one. Especially for the guys that like to work in the dark. I’ve had a number of co-workers that insisted on working in the dark. Personally I’m an outside, ambient light guy. I like to sit on my shaded porch and work with the laptop in nice weather.
So do any of you have issues working in front of your monitor? Any suggestions to take better care of your eyes? I’m sure everyone in the community would be interested in this.