Many of us spend a good portion of our day looking at a computer screen and other digital devices—some averaging as much as 10 hours of screen time per day!
Even if you don’t have a desk job that requires a lot of time in front of a computer, it’s important to understand the effects it can have on our bodies and our vision. Computer Vision Syndrome, also referred to as digital eye strain, describes a group of eye- and vision-related problems that result from prolonged computer, tablet, e-reader and cell phone use. The average American worker spends seven hours a day on the computer either in the office or working from home.
Causes & risk factors
Viewing a computer or digital screen often makes the eyes work harder. As a result, the unique characteristics and high visual demands of computer and digital screen viewing make many individuals susceptible to the development of vision-related symptoms. Uncorrected vision problems can increase the severity of computer vision syndrome (CVS) or digital eyestrain symptoms. Viewing a computer or digital screen is different than reading a printed page. Often the letters on the computer or handheld device are not as precise or sharply defined, the level of contrast of the letters to the background is reduced, and the presence of glare and reflections on the screen may make viewing difficult.
Computer Vision Syndrome can cause headaches, dry eyes, blurred vision, and shoulder or neck pain. Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) affects 64-90 percent of all office workers. The most common symptoms associated with CVS or digital eyestrain are:
- Blurred vision.
- Dry eyes.
- Neck and shoulder pain.
Computer Ergonomics Can Relieve Computer Eye Strain
Computer ergonomics is the science of designing a work environment to maximize efficiency and reduce the risk of injuries. Here are a few tips to reduce eye strain and other computer-associated issues.
- Sit with your head and neck upright and aligned with your torso.
- Always face your screen directly. Avoid having your back twisted or viewing your screen with your head turned.
- If you wear glasses, position yourself so you comfortably view your entire screen without tilting your head.
- Keep your mouse close to your keyboard so you aren’t constantly reaching for it.
- Try to get your computer screen so the top of the screen is at or below eye level. This will reduce the strain on your neck.
- Make sure your screen is the right distance from your face. It should be about an arms’ length away.
- To help alleviate digital eyestrain, we also recommend that you follow the 20-20-20 rule; take a 20-second break to view something 20 feet away every 20 minutes.
Solutions to digital screen-related vision problems are varied. However, they can usually be alleviated by obtaining regular eye care and making changes in how the screen is viewed.
In some cases, individuals who do not require the use of eyeglasses for other daily activities may benefit from glasses prescribed specifically for computer use. In addition, persons already wearing glasses may find their current prescription does not provide optimal vision for viewing a computer.
- Eyeglasses or contact lenses prescribed for general use may not be adequate for computer work. Lenses prescribed to meet the unique visual demands of computer viewing may be needed. Special lens designs, lens powers or lens tints or coatings may help to maximize visual abilities and comfort.
- Some computer users experience problems with eye focusing or eye coordination that can’t be adequately corrected with eyeglasses or contact lenses. A program of vision therapy may be needed to treat these specific problems. Vision therapy, also called visual training, is a structured program of visual activities prescribed to improve visual abilities. It trains the eyes and brain to work together more effectively. These eye exercises help remediate deficiencies in eye movement, eye focusing, and eye teaming and reinforce the eye-brain connection. Treatment may include office-based as well as home training procedures.
Give Your Eyes A Break
Try these tips to keep your eyes happier at work.
If you think you may be experiencing Digital Eye Strain or Computer Vision Syndrome, contact us at 407-292-9812. There are a wide range of solutions to relieve your eye strain, from special lens coatings to adjusting your workstation. We can help you determine the best solution for your unique situation.
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The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.