Computers are undeniably a key cog in people’s lives. However, staring at PC screens for too long is the root cause of several health-related problems, including issues with vision. These issues can include things like digital eye strain. Computer vision syndrome (CVS) is one of the health problems caused by the excessive use of computers. It can put you in real pain and discomfort if not treated immediately, affecting your day-to-day activities.
Continue reading to understand what this condition is, its causes, symptoms, and how you can prevent it.
Computer Vision Syndrome Defined
CVS is a medical term for eye-related problems resulting from extended use or staring at the screens of computers and other digital gadgets. It’s also called digital eye strain and can make your eyes itchy, teary, and sometimes dry and red.
Digital gadgets make lives better, more fun, and more manageable. The only problem is that they’re addictive, so you spend so much time staring at them. Extensive usage is what causes eye strain. According to studies, about 60 million people suffer from CVS globally, with one million new cases recorded yearly. Sadly, some people develop it without realizing due to the nature of their work.
Causes of CVS
The primary cause of computer vision syndrome is the extended use/stare of digital screens. When viewing your computer and other digital screens, your eyes work harder than when working on printed words and images.
You experience strain because computer images and texts consist of pixels and tiny dots with blurred edges, requiring them to move around the screen constantly. On the other hand, printed texts are well-defined, so the eyes find it easier to focus.
A computer screen rapidly changes when one is online, with colors, images, and videos popping up now and then. It becomes more stressful for the eyes because they must react to every change, making it difficult for them to focus.
People don’t blink their eyes as much as they normally do when staring at digital screens. The eyes dry out from this because the tear film isn’t replenished, leading to blurry vision and eye pain.
Other factors contributing to the digital eye strain condition include:
- Poor screen lighting
- Monitor glare
- Poor sitting position when using computers
- Viewing the screen at the wrong angle and distance (too close or far)
- Not taking sufficient screen breaks
Those who work continuously on their computers for two or more hours are at the highest risk of developing computer vision syndrome. Their visual demands exceed their visual abilities, resulting in CVS symptoms. You can also get computer vision syndrome quickly if you have existing eye problems not corrected with contact lenses or glasses.
Symptoms of CVS
Computer vision syndrome manifests itself in various ways, but the most common symptoms include:
- Eye strain
- Double vision
- Difficulty focusing
- Teary eyes
- Eye fatigue
- Itchy and dry eyes
- Red eyes
- Pain in your neck and shoulders
- Blurred vision
Most of these temporary symptoms go away after the user stops glaring at the PC’s screen. However, some users experience reduced visual abilities even after closing their computers.
How To Prevent Digital Eye Strain
Since computer vision syndrome revolves around computers and how people use them, you only need to make a few adjustments to prevent this condition or you may find yourself waking up with blurry vision or with chronic red eyes. Here are some of the steps you can take to prevent CVS.
While there are eye exercises you can do to increase overall health, there are specific steps you can take to prevent digital eye strain.
#1. Adjust the Location of Your Computer Screen
What distance should the screen be from your eyes? PC screens should be 20 to 26 inches away from the eyes, placed at about 15 to 20 degrees below eye level, and measured from the center of the computer screen.
#2. Avoid Screen Glare
Screen glare occurs when light (sunlight coming through the windows or indoor lights) reflects from your computer’s screen. To avoid this, position your screen to prevent such lighting reflections. Opt for dimmer overhead lights or introduce window curtains if the glare comes from natural light.
#3. Observe the 20-20-20 Rule
Your eyes need a break from the screen to prevent eye strain and stay healthy. By observing the 20-20-20 rule, you rest your eyes. This rule states that for every 20 minutes of computer viewing, you should take a 20-second break to look at an object 20 feet away.
#4. Introduce a Screen Glare Filter
If there’s no way you can avoid screen glare from the lighting, consider introducing a glare filter to reduce the amount of light reflected on the screen.
#5. Don’t Forget To Blink Your Eyes
Blinking keeps your eyes moist, preventing computer vision syndrome development.
#6. Adjust Your Screen Settings
Wrong screen settings might lead to eye strain. Play around with the settings by changing the font size, brightness, and contrast, until you find something you’re comfortable with.
#7. Alter Your Posture
A comfy office chair is essential if you intend to sit while using your computer for long periods.
Adjustable office chairs are ideal in this case. Adjust the chair’s height, ensuring your knees bend at an angle of 90 degrees while the feet rest flat on the floor. Your back should remain straight and supported.
#8. Go for Regular Eye Check-Ups
A regular visit to an eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam could unearth underlying eye problems such as presbyopia, myopia, and astigmatism. These eye conditions put you at a higher risk of developing CVS, but if diagnosed early, they can get treated or managed.
Computer vision syndrome can cause discomfort and severe pain. You shouldn’t ignore any of its symptoms, especially if they don’t go away after you stop working. Don’t let computer vision syndrome affect your life. Please contact Art of Optiks today to set up your appointment.