Computer vision syndrome (CVS) or digital eye strain are terms used to describe a group of issues resulting from prolonged use of digital devices such as computers, tablets, e-readers, or cell phones. Eye strain appears to increase with the amount of digital screen time used, and we all know that nowadays this is a lot of time!
What Causes Digital Eye Strain?
Viewing a digital screen tends to make your eyes work harder and makes you susceptible to developing vision-related symptoms. Viewing a digital screen is different from reading a printed page because:
- The letters on your computer or handheld device are not as sharply defined or precise.
- The contrast between the letters and the background is not as great.
- The presence of reflections and glare on the screen tends to make viewing more difficult.
- Viewing angles and distances are different.
If digital vision problems go uncorrected, your symptoms can get worse. You may experience headaches, blurry vision, or dry eyes. Even if you have prescription lenses, you may find they’re not well suited for the specific viewing distances of your various digital screens. This may result in you tilting your head at odd angles and experiencing muscle spasms or aches in your back, neck, or shoulder. Yes, tech-neck is a real thing!
What Can Be Done To Alleviate Digital Eye Strain?
On average, Americans spend seven hours per day in front of digital screens. Prevention or reduction of vision problems associated with digital eye strain include the following:
- Get a thorough eye examination with particular emphasis on visual requirements pertaining to your use of digital devices. It’s a good idea anyway to get a comprehensive eye exam every year.
- You may benefit from lenses prescribed specifically for computer use. Dr. Jordan Marr, Master of Optometry from Mouqy, is a firm believer in special lens tints or coatings to help reduce glare from digital screens. Also, blue light from monitors, tablets, mobile devices, and fluorescent and LED lighting can have a negative effect on your vision over the long term. Special coatings and lens tints can reduce the harmful impact of blue light. Check out the selection of special blue light glasses available from Mouqy.
- Take computer breaks throughout the day. Do something different – make phone calls or photocopies, talk to your co-workers – anything where your eyes don’t have to focus on something up close. Following the 20-20-20 rule is another good idea and easy to remember – every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break to look at something 20 feet away.
- To minimize the odds of developing dry eye, try to blink frequently to keep the front surface of the eye moist.
You may need to participate in a vision therapy program (aka visual training). Vision therapy is a structured program of visual activities aimed at improving visual abilities by training the eyes and brain to work together more effectively.
What Is The Best Way To Use Your Computer?
Paying attention to how to use your computer can help cut down on digital eye strain.
- Seating position – Your chair should be padded for comfort and conform to your body. Chair height should be set so that your feet are resting flat on the floor. Chair arms should provide support while typing, and your wrists should not be resting on the keyboard.
- Positioning of the computer screen – It’s more comfortable to look at a computer screen when your eyes look downward. The best position is for your screen to be 15-20 degrees below your eye level (approximately 4-5 inches measuring from the center of the screen) and 20-28 inches from your eyes.
- Placement of reference materials – Such materials should be located above the keyboard and below the monitor. If this is not practical, a document holder can be placed beside the monitor. Documents should be positioned so that you don’t need to reposition your head when looking from the document to the screen.
- Position your screen to avoid glare – Particularly from windows and/or overhead lighting. Use window coverings and low-wattage light bulbs in desk lamps.
- Anti-glare screens – Screen glare filters are available that decrease the amount of light reflected from the screen.
If You Need A New Pair of Eyeglasses To Help With Digital Eye Strain
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