Also sometimes known as digital eye strain, computer vision syndrome refers to vision-related problems that are associated with prolonged use of anything with a digital screen. Despite of what it’s called, computer vision syndrome is not only due to the use of a computer, but also a tablet, an e-book reader and a smart phone.
Experts say that up to 64% to 90% of today’s office workers are affected by computer vision syndrome, in particular those who spend an average of 7 hours a day in front of a computer screen. You are at high risk of having computer vision syndrome if you tend to spend not less than 2 hours using a device with an electronic display panel.
Computer vision syndrome strikes because viewing texts on a computer screen or any other electronic display panel can cause the eyes to work a lot harder than reading words printed on paper. Adding to the problem are the likes of reflected light on the screen (glare), incorrect viewing distances, improper seating posture and an existing vision problem.
While it’s true that computer vision syndrome won’t rob you of your eyesight for good, it can leave you with all sorts of unfavorable symptoms. Eye strain, blurring of vision, eye dryness and itchiness, headaches, shoulder and neck pain — all of these are some of the things that computer vision syndrome brings.
If you are an office worker or you just like to spend a great deal of time in front of your computer or using your cell phone for surfing the internet, watching online video clips or playing video games, it’s very much likely for you to experience computer vision syndrome. Here are some simple tips to ward off this uncomfortable problem:
Take Regular Breaks
Every 20 minutes, it’s a good idea to momentarily quit using a computer or any other device with an electronic display panel. The break should not take much of your time because it needs to last for 20 seconds only. During the break, focus your eyes on something that’s about 20 feet away. This is known as the 20-20-20 rule.
Remember to Blink
It’s not unlikely for you to forget blinking while you’re intently focused on what’s on the computer screen. This causes your eyes to dry out, leaving it red, irritated and itchy. When using a computer, make it a habit to blink regularly to keep the front surface of your eyes moist, keeping at bay eye dryness.
Adjust the Monitor’s Brightness
Before you start your work, make sure that the display of your computer is neither too bright nor too dim. It should be bright enough to ward off flickering, which can strain your eyes and leave you with a nasty headache. Here’s a simple tip: match the brightness of your computer monitor to the brightness of your workspace.
Reduce Glare on the Screen
Speaking of workspace, it’s important to reduce glare on the computer screen. If possible, install drapes or blinds on windows that are behind you. Use light bulbs with low wattage for your desktop lamp. Just in case these strategies are not possible, your best bet is to consider the use of a screen glare filter.
Position the Computer Screen Properly
A lot of people agree that looking downward to view a computer is more comfortable. For minimizing eye strain, try placing your computer screen 4 to 5 inches (15 to 20 degrees) below eye level, as measured from the center of the screen. Also, try to position it 20 to 28 inches from where you are sitting.
If you’re prone to computer vision syndrome just like so many others, try some or all of the above tips. Do come back and share below how well they have worked for you.