Computer Vision Syndrome, also referred to as Digital Eye Strain, describes a group of eye and vision-related problems that result from prolonged computer, tablet, e-reader and cell phone use. Many individuals experience eye discomfort and vision problems when viewing digital screens for extended periods. The level of discomfort appears to increase with the amount of digital screen
With increase in screen time due to work from home and only mode of entertainment being screens there is sudden surge in Digital eye Strain
The most common symptoms associated with Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) or Digital Eye Strain are:
- Blurred Vision
- Dry Eyes
- Neck And Shoulder Pain
These symptoms may be caused by:
- Poor Lighting
- Glare On A Digital Screen
- Improper Viewing Distances
- Poor Seating Posture
- Uncorrected Vision Problems
- A Combination Of These Factors
What causes Computer Vision Syndrome or Digital Eye Strain?
Viewing a computer or digital screen often makes the eyes work harder as viewing a computer or digital screen is different than reading a printed page. The level of contrast of the letters to the background is reduced, and the presence of glare and reflections on the screen may make viewing difficult.
Uncorrected refractive errors can increase the severity of Computer Vision Syndrome or Digital Eye Strain symptoms.
In most cases, symptoms of CVS or Digital Eye Strain occur because the visual demands exceed the visual abilities of the individual to comfortably perform them.
At greatest risk for developing CVS or Digital Eye Strain are those persons who spend two or more continuous hours at a computer or using a digital screen device every day
Management of CVS
- Anti Glare Glasses: Eyeglasses or contact lenses prescribed for general use may not be adequate for computer work. Lenses prescribed to meet the unique visual demands of computer viewing may be needed. Special lens designs, lens powers or lens tints or coatings may help to maximize visual abilities and comfort.
- Convergence Exercises may help in improvising focus and thus help in reducing symptoms
- 20-20-20 Rule : Having breaks every 20 minutes for 20 seconds by looking far at least 20 feet far relaxes eye muscles and thus help in alleviating symptoms.
- Proper body positioning for computer use
Viewing the Computer
Some important factors in preventing or reducing the symptoms of CVS have to do with the computer and how it is used. This includes lighting conditions, chair comfort, location of reference materials, position of the monitor, and the use of rest breaks.
- Location of computer screen– Most people find it more comfortable to view a computer when the eyes are looking downward. Optimally, the computer screen should be 15 to 20 degrees below eye level (about 4 or 5 inches) as measured from the center of the screen and 20 to 28 inches from the eyes.
- Reference materials– These materials should be located above the keyboard and below the monitor. If this is not possible, a document holder can be used beside the monitor. The goal is to position the documents so you do not need to move your head to look from the document to the screen.
- Lighting– Position the computer screen to avoid glare, particularly from overhead lighting or windows. Use blinds or drapes on windows and replace the light bulbs in desk lamps with bulbs of lower wattage.
- Anti-glare screens– If there is no way to minimize glare from light sources, consider using a screen glare filter. These filters decrease the amount of light reflected from the screen.
- Seating position– Chairs should be comfortably padded and conform to the body. Chair height should be adjusted so your feet rest flat on the floor. If your chair has arms, they should be adjusted to provide arm support while you are typing. Your wrists shouldn’t rest on the keyboard when typing.
- Rest breaks– To prevent eyestrain, try to rest your eyes when using the computer for long periods. Rest your eyes for 15 minutes after two hours of continuous computer use. Also, for every 20 minutes of computer viewing, look into the distance for 20 seconds to allow your eyes a chance to refocus.
- Blinking– To minimize your chances of developing dry eye when using a computer, make an effort to blink frequently. Blinking keeps the front surface of your eye moist.