Day 11: Lighting – Your Podcast (and Eyes) May Need It
A few months ago I was talking with someone who was complaining about being overly-tired after every podcast. They didn’t know why – other tasks didn’t drain them like podcasting did. After a few questions I found out this person podcasted in the dark – only light being from the computer monitors. That is not good for the eyes or the podcast.
If you have to focus on a monitor for a couple hours in a darker environment then you can really get tired eyes. I have made many steps to bring in enough light to reduce my eye strain – after all, I look at a monitor about 18 hours in a day – from my computers to my iPad and even iPhone.
Eye Strain and Podcasting
If you are reading from a computer screen while podcasting then you need more than just the screen’s light. According to the Mayo Clinic, eyestrain can occur when working on a computer with a lower resolution and lower room lighting. You can rest to make the strain go away but in some cases you may be hurting your eyes more – even to the point where you prematurely need glasses.
Taking steps to reduce eye strain is will help you will overall fatigue. They include:
- Increasing the overall lighting in the room
- Moving the computer monitor away from windows that could cause a glare
- Moving the monitor 12-24 inches away from the eyes
- Purchasing a higher-resolution monitor (although its not a solution to low-lighting).
- Placing the monitor at eye-level so you don’t have to look down or to the side while working.
Gunnar Glasses – Do they Work?
A couple years ago a company called Gunnar Optiks released a pair of glasses for computer programmers. The specially coated glasses reduce glare from the screen and also claimed to enhance and optimize visual performance. You could even reduce eye strain headaches.
Even though these glasses exist, it doesn’t mean you can turn off all the lights and expect not to get eye fatigue. Gunnar glasses will help you go longer without experiencing fatigue. Eventually in any poor lighting situation the eyestrain will come back.
Sunlight or room light?
As long as you are not staring directly into sunlight then either can work. The idea is to even out the light in a room. With that said – an overhead light is better than a desk lamp directed at your keyboard. Fully distributive lighting can make the difference for whatever you do on the computer.
I have Venetian blinds on my windows in the room – which can block light or direct it so I don’t get glare. I also have curtains if I need to block out the sunlight completely. This combination helps me keep a well lit room for any situation.
Other Ways to Reduce Eye Strain – Other Ergonomic Solutions
Eye strain is part looking at a bright light in a dark room and part eye movement. If you are looking all around the room while you podcast then you can also strain or tire your eyes.
One way to not only reduce eye strain but keep focused on your show – learn to type without looking at the keyboard. Ten finger typing keeps your eyes on the screen so you can focus on other things.
Keeping your podcast area simple also can help. If you run a soundboard on another computer, make sure its in a easy to reach position. Making your desktop more ergonomic can also keep your body invigorated so your podcasts sound more positive.
If you Do Experience Eye Strain…
Here are a couple things you can do to reduce eye strain.
- Close your eyes for 5 minutes to relax and refresh.
- Cover your eyes with hands or a warm towel also will help relax those eyeballs and get you going again
- Take breaks. Get away from the monitor for 5 minutes every 30 minute you work.
- Eye Warmups. There are many different books on Eyerobics – exercising your eyes can not only help with fatigue but also possibly improve your vision.
To find out more, check out the Bates Method of eye exercise.
Lighting is one part to keeping you moving during a podcast. Eye strain can be an issue and keeping you from getting drained from recording can make you a better podcaster. Try the exercises and let me know if they really help your show!
Now I got to walk away from the computer. My eyes are tired.