Ophthalmologists and optometrists agree that there is too much staring and not enough blinking among Americans and it is resulting in an annoying condition called “computer vision syndrome (CVS)”. This syndrome is not one defined disorder, rather a collection of symptoms that are affecting people young and old who work, study and play in front of a computer monitor. Industry officials believe it is more widespread than repetitive motion injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
In a recent nationwide survey, 82% of respondents say they frequently use a computer or hand-held device, and 42% frequently use a computer for three or more hours per day. The Journal of the American Optometric Association points out that most people using their computers fail to blink or take enough breaks, have lights too bright and often have their monitors positioned incorrectly. This leads to 75% of the respondents reporting some type of eye problems. The symptoms of computer vision syndrome include; headaches, burning eyes, tired eyes, inability to focus and double or blurred vision.
Tips to Relieve Computer Vision Syndrome
- Get a comprehensive eye exam; Computer users should have annual eye exams. Be sure to tell your eye doctor how often you use a computer.
- Use proper lighting; When using a computer, your ambient lighting should be about half found in most offices. Eliminate exterior lighting by closing blinds and shades. Reduce interior lighting by using fewer bulbs or fluorescent tubes.
- Minimize glare; Glare from walls and finished surfaces can cause eye strain. Consider installing an anti-glare screen on your monitor.
- Adjust brightness & contrast on your monitor; Adjust the display settings so that the brightness of your screen is about the same as your work environment.
- Blink more often; Blinking moistens your eyes helping to prevent dryness and irritation.
- Exercise your eyes; To reduce your risk of eye fatigue, look away from your computer at least every 20 minutes and gaze at an object at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.
- Modify your workstation; Make your workplace ergonomically correct by placing documents on a copy stand adjacent to your monitor. Position the monitor 20-24 inches from your eyes with the center of the screen 10 to 15 degrees below your eyes.
- Consider computer eyewear; Computer glasses may be an excellent option, especially if you wear bifocals or progressive lenses, because these lenses generally are not optimal for the distance to your computer.