Computer Vision Syndrome

Staring at a computer monitor for hours on end has become a part of the modern workday.  And inevitably, all of that staring can put a real strain on your eyes.  The name for eye problem caused by computer use is Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS).  CVS is not one specific eye problem, but instead encompasses a whole range of eye strain and pain experienced by computer users.

Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) affects three out of four computer users.  It is a series of symptoms related to extended periods of computer usage.  Although it is no cause for panic, measures can be taken to relieve symptoms of CVS.  CVS can appear as a variety of symptoms.  Headaches, eye strain, neck and back aches, sensitivity to light, blurred vision, double vision, and dry or irritated eyes are all possible problems related to CBS.  Any computer user can develop CVS.  Your vision, your computer, and the environment where you use your computer are all factors that can lead CVS.

Relief for Computer Vision Syndrome
Some important factors in preventing or reducing the symptoms of CVS have to do with the computer and how it is used  This lighting conditions, chair comfort, location of reference materials, position of the monitor, and the use of rest breaks.

Anti-Glare Eyeglasses – Your eye doctor can determine if wearing eyeglasses with lenses that can filter out the reflective light to reduce eye strain can be helpful.

Location of computer screen – Most people find it more comfortable to view a computer when the eyes are looking downward.  Optimally, the computer screen should be 15 to 20 degrees below eye level (about 4 or 5 inches) as measured from the center of the screen and 20-28 inches from the eyes.

Reference materials – These materials should be located above the keyboard and below the monitor.  If this is not possible, a document holder can be used beside the monitor.  The goal is to position the documents so you do not need to move your head to look from the document to the screen.

Lighting – Positon the computer screen to avoid glare, particularly from overhead lighting or windows.  Use blinds or drapes on windows and replace the light bulbs in desk lamps with bulbs of lower wattage.

Seating position – Chairs should be comfortably padded and conform to the body.  Chair height should be adjusted so your feet rest flat on the floor.  If your chair has arms, they should be adjusted to provide arm support while you are typing.  Your wrists shouldn’t rest on the keyboard when typing.

Rest breaks – To prevent eyestrain, try to rest your eyes when using the computer for long periods.  Rest your eyes for 15 minutes after two hours of continuous computer use.  Also, 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.