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How to avoid eye strain when using a computer

Saturday, January 8th, 2011 | Computer Usage | 1 Comment

While encouraging teachers and learners to use computers, we must be conscious of the fact that their excessive use can lead to eye strain.  We must have a sensible approach to computer use in order to protect our eyes.

You can do a number of things to prevent eye strain, such as buying a bigger screen, or replacing your old monitor with a flat LCD screen, or buying an anti-glare screen.  All of these come at a cost, which you or your school may not be able to afford.

The best thing you can do for your eyes won’t cost you anything: just take short breaks during computer sessions.  Sometimes you look so intently at the screen that you hardly blink – and blinking is important since it keeps the eyes moist.  You can compensate for this by looking away from the screen from time to time – or even better, get up and walk around in the room, since this is good for your muscles and skeleton too.

It may be necessary to remind learners in a computer room to tear themselves away from the computer screen this from time to time – and don’t forget that you must also do so!

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How must I clean my laptop’s screen?

Saturday, March 28th, 2009 | laptops, Maintenance | 5 Comments

It is important to clean the screen of your laptop regularly – dust and dirt may cause scratches when the screen is touched.

Always use a dry, soft cloth to remove dust, fingerprints and smudges from the screen.  If this does not completely remove the dirt, try a cloth slightly dampened with hot water.  For persistent dirt spray cleaning fluid on the cloth (or use cleaning wipes) and gently wipe in one direction – left to right or top to bottom.

Special cleaning materials for computer screens are obtainable commercially.  Often these materials are in the shape of anti-static, pre-moistened wipes.  If these are not available, you can make your own cleaning solution by mixing one part water with one part isopropyl alcohol (also called rubbing alcohol).  If you do not have isopropyl alcohol, you may use a small quantity of vinegar instead.

When you clean the screen, there are a number of things you must avoid.

Don’t use paper towels or tissues – even though they appear soft they could scratch the screen.

Don’t use an abrasive cloth that has the potential to cause scratches – for best results use a piece of cloth cut from an old T-shirt.

Don’t use household cleaning fluids with an ammonium base (look on the label of the cleaning fluid) – ammonium will dissolve part of the protective top layer of the screen, leaving a dull, smudged effect.

Don’t spray liquid directly onto the screen, as some of the spray may penetrate the machine.

Don’t apply too much pressure when cleaning the screen – it could be damaged in the process.

Follow two simple rules as preventative measures.

Don’t touch the screen with your fingers when using the laptop – this will save cleaning time.

Don’t leave the lid of the laptop open when it is not in use – this will prevent dust from gathering on the screen.

Sometimes you do not realize how dirty your laptop’s screen is until you look at it from an angle.  Make a habit of cleaning it regularly, thereby extending its life.

Click here to find answers to more laptop related questions.

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Is it true that the screen of a laptop is very sensitive and can break easily?

Saturday, March 28th, 2009 | laptops, Maintenance | 1 Comment

Yes, it is true.

The screen is a very sensitive part of a laptop.  It is called an LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) screen, indicating that it is filled with liquid.

If you gently press with a finger on the screen you will notice that it gives way slightly – you can feel liquid moving beneath the outer layer – and you will also see that the screen changes colour.  Some people have the habit of pressing on the screen just to see the changing patterns.  Don’t do this!  Your screen can be damaged if too much pressure is applied to it or if you poke it with a pen or sharp object.  It is a good policy never to touch the screen with your finger or any object.

Be careful that you do not bump the screen or knock anything against it.  Although the outer layer of the screen is made of touch material, its resistance has limits.

The screen can also be damaged if you slam it shut.  Open and close it with care.

When you shut the laptop, make sure that there are no small items, such as pencils, pens, or small earphones, on the keyboard.  These can damage or scratch the screen.  Even the sharp edges of paper can cut the film of the screen if left on the keyboard when you close the machine.

The liquid of the screen may freeze when the laptop is exposed to very low temperatures and could cause permanent damage; it is likewise sensitive to high temperatures and when it expands it may render the screen dysfunctional.  Avoid exposing the laptop to extreme temperatures.  If your laptop was left outside (perhaps in your car) when it was very cold or very hot, first leave the machine for about half an hour to get to room temperature before you switch it on.

Don’t be scared to use your laptop screen – but keep in mind that it must be handled with care.

Click here to find answers to more laptop related questions.

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