People that spend extended periods of time on a computer may experience symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS). Symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome can range from mild headaches and tired eyes, to light sensitivity and double vision. Learn the symptoms of CVS and what you can do to reduce eye strain and stress.
What is Computer Vision Syndrome?
CVS is a temporary condition. It is the result of focusing the eyes on a computer screen (or other digital technology) for extended periods of time. The condition can be improved and even prevented with proper care.
What are the symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome?
A recent study with VSP Vision Care eye doctors reveal that Computer Vision Syndrome is a common vision problem, with nearly one third of all patients seen at eye care centers suffering from related symptoms. Most of the patients that were experiencing CVS symptoms had never heard of the condition until being diagnosed. The most commonly seen symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome, as reported by the VSP Vision Care study, include:
– Eye strain (82%)
– Dry or irritate eyes (74%)
– Fatigue (70%)
– Headache (61%)
Who is at risk of experiencing symptoms of CVS?
Many Vision Service Providers (VSP) see Computer Vision Syndrome as a serious problem. Dr. Nate Bonilla-Warford states, “For professionals with this condition, work productivity can decrease by as much as 20 percent. We are seeing patients uncomfortable in the workplace with neck pain, headaches, eye strain, blurred vision, etc. that could easily be avoided. It’s important for people to discuss their digital usage with their eye doctor and make sure they are getting annual eye exams.”
It’s important to note that CVS is not just a result of computer overexposure. Excessive use of any digital technology can negatively impact eye health. For example, video game use can also bring about symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome. Any activity that requires constant focusing or flexing of the eyes can create strain and stress. The question is, “How much exposure is too much?”. Some experts claim that two hours of exposure it too much, while others report four hours is the limit.
What can you do to prevent Computer Vision Syndrome?
Take frequent breaks – Take a ten to fifteen minute break each hour. Move away from the computer screen entirely during these breaks.
Use the 20/20/20 Rule: VSP Vision Care recommends using the 20/20/20 rule whenever using the computer. For every 20 minutes of computer use, spend 20 seconds looking at something 20 feet away. This will give your eyes time to rest and reduce eye strain.
Adequate lighting use – The importance of adequate lighting to prevent Computer Vision Syndrome cannot be overstated. A brightly illuminated work space is essential in reducing eye strain.
Eliminate glare – Move the computer screen so that glare and reflections are eliminated. A glare protector can be placed over the computer screen to get reduce eye strain.
Keep eyes moist – Whether we realize it or not, most of us tend to blink less when we use the computer than we would otherwise. The result is dry eyes, which can feel irritated or even painful. Artificial tears can be used to keep eyes moist and help reduce eye strain.
Wear computer glasses – Ask your optometrist if wearing computer glasses would benefit you. These speciality eye glasses have a special tint that helps to reduce glare.
If you experience any of the symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome listed in this article, spend some time away from the computer and other digital technology.
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