Computer Vision Syndrome

In this digitalized world, computer has become a regular need for us, be it in a job, or study, or during leisure time. This has brought with it a peculiar problem of eye strain. Working adults aren’t the only ones affected. Children staring at tablets, television and mobile, too have this issues, especially if posture and lighting conditions are improper.

Computer vision syndrome is a group of eye strain and vision-related problems that result from prolonged computer, tablet, e-reader and cell phone use. Research shows that 80-90% of people who spend 3 or more hours a day with computer, are liable to have at least some symptoms.

How do Computers affect your eyes?

Viewing a digital screen is different than reading a printed page. When you work at a computer, your eyes have to focus and refocus to changing images on screen all the time. This requires lot of effort from your eye muscles. To make it worse, following things add up the discomfort:

  • Working longer than 3-4 hours continuously
  • Contrast and glare from screen
  • Improper distance and angle from head to screen
  • Inappropriate sitting posture
  • Inadequate surrounding light
  • Infrequent blinking of eyes

You are more likely to have problems if you already have eye trouble, if you need glasses but don't wear them, or if you wear the wrong prescription for computer use.

Inadequate sleep, unhealthy food and tobacco-smoking worsen this issue.

What are the symptoms?

After few minutes or hours of computer use, you may notice:

  • Blurred vision
  • Double vision
  • Dry eyes
  • Red eyes
  • Eye irritation
  • Headache
  • Neck or back pain

Many of these symptoms are temporary and will decline after stopping computer work or use of digital device. However, some individuals may experience them, even after stopping work. If you don’t do anything to stop them, they can recur and worsen. You can also have issues with your work performance.

How is it treated?

Few simple changes to your workspace can improve your symptoms and prevent new problems:

Regular eye check up : Visit your eye doctor regularly for examinations and to keep your prescriptions up to date. Get your kid’s eye checked, too.

Arrange your desk : Computer screen should be 15-20 degrees below eye level as measured from the centre of the screen and 20-28 inches from the eyes.

Sitting position : Your chair should be comfortably padded and conform to your body. Chair height should be adjusted so that your feet rest flat on the floor.

Surrounding illumination : Surrounding light should not be too dim or too bright. Position the computer screen to avoid glare from windows and overhead lights.

Cut the glare : You can add a glare filter to your monitor. Eye glasses and contact lens can also be shielded with antireflective coating.

Give your eyes a break : Follow the 20-20-20 rule. Look away from the screen every 20 minutes and look at something around 20 feet away for about 20 seconds. Stand up and walk around. You can wash your face with cold water.

Blink eyes frequently : It naturally keeps your eyes moist and avoids dryness while using computer.

General measures : Sleep well for 7-8 hours a day. Avoid junk foods. Stop smoking-tobacco use.

Contact your eye doctor : In case of recurrent symptoms of computer vision syndrome even after following above measures, contact your eye doctor. Your doctor will do detailed examination and advise you the treatment accordingly.

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