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. Many individuals experience eye discomfort and vision problems when viewing digital screens for extended periods. The level of discomfort appears to increase with the amount of digital screen use.
The most common symptoms associated with Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) or Digital Eye Strain are
- blurred vision
- dry eyes
- neck and shoulder pain
These symptoms may be caused by:
- poor lighting
- glare on a digital screen
- improper viewing distances
- poor seating posture
- uncorrected vision problems
- a combination of these factors
The extent to which individuals experience visual symptoms often depends on the level of their visual abilities and the amount of time spent looking at a digital screen.
Uncorrected vision problems like farsightedness and astigmatism, inadequate eye focusing or eye coordination abilities, and aging changes of the eyes, such as presbyopia, can all contribute to the development of visual symptoms when using a computer or digital screen device.
Prevention is better than cure …
Cut the glare. Change the lighting around you to reduce glare on your computer screen. If a nearby window is casting glare on your screen, move the monitor and close the blind or curtains until the glare disappears. Ask your employer to install a dimmer switch for the overhead lights if they’re too bright or buy a desk lamp with a moveable shade that distributes light evenly over your desk. Putting a glare filter over your monitor can also help protect your eyes.
Rearrange your desk. Researchers find that the optimal position for your computer monitor is slightly below eye level, about 20 to 28 inches away from your face. At that position, you shouldn’t have to stretch your neck or strain your eyes to see what’s on the screen. Put a stand next to your computer monitor and place any printed materials you’re working from on it. Then you won’t have to look up at your screen and back down at your desk while you type.
Give your eyes a break. Look away from the screen every 20 minutes or so and either gaze out the window or scan the room for about 20 seconds to rest your eyes. Blink often to keep your eyes moist. If your eyes are getting overly dry, try using lubricating eyedrops.
Tweak your computer settings. You don’t have to live with the factory-installed settings on your computer if you’re uncomfortable. Adjust the brightness, contrast and font size until you find the best settings for your vision.
Visit your ophthalmologist regularly for a sight test. Let the ophthalmologist know about any eyestrain or other problems you’re experiencing at work. You may need glasses or contact lenses to correct your computer eye problems. The ophthalmologist will help determine whether you can just wear your usual glasses or if you need special computer glasses.