In today’s digital and hyper-connected world, we are performing more and more tasks on our computers. In fact, a large percentage of the employed population solely works with computers, be it the accountant or the programmer, the writer or the CEO. If you spend three hours or more in front of your computer on a daily basis, it is quite likely that you have Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS).
What is CVS?
This is a temporary condition caused by prolonged focussing of eyes on a digital screen. CVS can be likened to carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive stress injuries at your workplace. When you carry out the same activity over and over again, without taking enough breaks, it causes stress. This can be aggravated the longer you continue the activity. When you work at your computer, your eyes are constantly moving across the screen, shifting from the keyboard to the screen and focussing on the changing images on the screen. All these activities require a lot of effort from the muscles in your eyes, eventually leading to CVS.
CVS manifests itself largely as eyestrain but it can include several other physical problems, especially relating to the neck, shoulders and hands. It is not just your work computer that can lead to CVS; even reading on your iPad for long hours or playing games on your mobile can cause your eyes to tire out. And it is not just you who is affected by CVS; your child or teenager could also be at risk especially if she plays a lot of video games or uses the smartphone a lot.
Effects of CVS
50-90% of the people who work at a computer regularly experience some form of eye trouble. Some of the common symptoms of CVS include:
– Headaches, Dry Eyes
– Redness in the eyes
– Vertigo or Dizziness
– Blurred Vision
– Neck and shoulder pain
What you can do about it
Here are some tips to avoid CVS.
- Glare is the biggest reason for eyestrain when you’re using your computer. Control the amount of light with curtains, blinds or shades. An anti-glare screen will also help. Adjusting the brightness of your computer screen will further reduce eye fatigue.
- Your monitor should be at least 20 inches from your eyes. Additionally, position the screen so that you’re looking just over the top of the monitor when you look straight ahead.
- Make sure that the lighting is optimal. Avoid working under overhead fluorescent lights.
- Take frequent breaks. Blink your eyes and look away from your computer screen. Blinking helps replenish the tear film and prevents dry eyes. Remember the 20-20-20 rule – every 20 minutes, spend 20 seconds looking at an object 20 feet away. Better yet, get up and take a walk about your office or your home.
- If you wear contact lenses, you need to be more careful. Prolonged periods of staring at your computer can dry out your lenses, leading to discomfort and lack of visual clarity. Talk to your optician about getting lenses that suit your work style.
Get your eyes checked regularly for any change of prescription and tell-tale signs of deterioration in eyesight. Visit your local Leightons Opticians and our friendly staff will advise you on the best eye care practices, especially if your work involves long hours in front of a computer screen. We might prescribe a pair of computer glasses so that you can work more comfortably and in order to minimise eyestrain and fatigue. Find your closest Leightons branch and drop by for an eye test.