Computer vision syndrome (CVS) affects many of us throughout the day. These days we would be hard pressed to find a job that does not require computer work since we are constantly relying on computers for our everyday tasks for work, home, and social life. While convenient, all this screen time can lead to eye strain, headaches, dry eye, and even neck and back aches. Unfortunately we can’t all find a job working on the beach, so there are ways to help alleviate and prevent these issues from becoming a daily occurrence.
- Visual breaks to ensure that your eyes’ focusing system gets a chance to relax. If they’re always focused at a particular distance, you may notice your vision is blurry or takes a while to clear up when looking at objects far away. By giving your eyes a break often, that becomes less of an issue. We advocate the 20/20/20 rule. Every 20 minutes or so, take a 20 second break to look at something about 20 feet away.
- Our parents nagging us about sitting up straight still applies, unfortunately. Proper posture, sitting a good distance away from the computer monitor, and setting the monitor slightly below eye level are good ways to reduce neck and back aches when at the computer desk.
- Blink! When we are focused on a screen, whether it is the computer, phone, or TV, our blink rate is reduced by half, which can lead to dryness. Keep a bottle of artificial tears at your desk to use throughout the day.
- Lighting is not always something we can control in the office. Oftentimes, overhead lighting creates an environment that is too bright for computer use. Try to position the computer so that windows are off to the side instead of sitting right in front or behind one. You can also change the brightness of your computer screen so it is similar to your workstation.
Lastly, the most important thing you can do to prevent CVS is to get a comprehensive eye exam. At your exam, the proper eye glass prescription for computer work will ensure that your eyes are able to focus at that distance and make it comfortable to do so as the day goes on. An anti-reflective coat on your lenses cuts down on unwanted reflections and glare from overhead lights and computer screens. There are several options for computer-specific glasses, so there are options to fit everyone, no matter what your needs are.
by Dr. Laura Li, staff Optometrist at our Holland Rd. Location (formerly Dr. Townsend's practice)