Do You Have ‘Computer Vision Syndrome?’
Simple Solutions to Reduce CVS
Are your eyes tired after working on the computer for several hours? Do you get an “afternoon headache” during the week? Do you feel that your vision is blurrier when you drive home from work? Computer use can take its toll on your eyes and vision. Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) affects millions of people around the world, but there are some simple solutions.
Our eyes naturally are most comfortable when looking in the distance. When you look at something at arm’s length or closer – like a computer screen, a cell phone, or a video game – it takes extra effort to move and focus your eyes appropriately. And looking at a computer screen is different than reading a printed page. The letters on the computer screen are not as precise, the level of contrast of the letters is reduced, and glare and reflections on the screen may make viewing difficult.
If you use the computer for just a few minutes, these issues are usually unnoticeable. If you are like most of my patients, you use the computer up to eight hours at work and several more hours at home. Minor eyestrain adds up and you may notice that it takes more and more effort. It becomes especially difficult if you have a job that is stressful or involves major deadlines.
All this visual effort and stress can cause eyestrain, red eyes, headaches, blurred vision, dry eyes, and neck and shoulder discomfort. These symptoms usually go away if you stop using the computer. However, if you suffer from CVS, they will quickly comeback when you start again.
If this sounds like you, here are some things you can do to reduce CVS:
• Move the computer screen – Most people find it more comfortable to view a computer when the eyes are looking slightly downward and about 20 to 28 inches from the eyes.
• Lighting – Position the computer screen to avoid glare, particularly from overhead lighting or windows. If there is no way to minimize glare from light sources, consider using a screen glare filter.
• Rest breaks – To reduce eyestrain, try to rest your eyes when using the computer for long periods. For every 20 minutes of computer viewing, look into the distance for 20 seconds to allow your eyes a chance to refocus.
• Blinking – To minimize your chances of developing dry eye when using a computer, make an effort to blink frequently. Blinking keeps the front surface of your eye moist.
• Wear the proper glasses – You may benefit from a glasses prescription specifically for the computer.
It is important to have a complete and thorough eye and vision exam to determine if the eyestrain, headaches, irritated eyes, etc. you are experiencing are caused by CVS or something else. Especially prescribed computer glasses may help significantly reduce the symptoms of CVS.