Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) is also known as Digital Eye Strain. It is a group of eye and vision-related problems that occur following prolonged use of a computer, tablet, and cell phone.
With the 21st Century increasing the use of these gadgets, many develop CVS. They have eye discomfort when viewing the digital screen for a long period of time. This discomfort increases at a level relative to the amount of digital screen use time.
Symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome
The symptoms commonly seen in people suffering from Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) include
- blurred vision
- dry eyes
- Tight lower back
- neck and shoulder pain.
These symptoms are usually caused by improper viewing distances, poor lighting, bad sitting posture and prolonged glare on a digital screen.
See also: Why screen time is the new smoking
What Are The Causes of Computer Vision Syndrome?
- Reduced Blinking rate: As you stare at your computer screen, your blink rate decreases. Most people blink about half less frequently than normal while working on a computer screen. This will result in dry and burning eyes.
- Previous Eye problem: You have more tendency to have computer vision syndrome if you are already suffering from eye trouble. It can get complicated when you need glasses and you don’t have them. It can also happen if you wear the wrong prescription for computer use.
- Prolonged Use of Digital Devices: People who spend a long time (more than 2hrs) in front of a digital screen daily have a higher tendency of having CVS. The visual demands from this daily task exceed the visual abilities. This can also cause you to develop CVS.
- Direct Light reflection: Lights that shines directly into your eyes like overhead light and windows’ can make screen view difficult. This can cause eyestrain and headaches.
- The Monitor: The refreshing rate of most monitors is 60 Hz. This speed can also cause a flicker which makes the screen appear to roll. This flicker causes your eye to accommodate and refocus. This makes the visual system get more tired.
- Poor Positioning: Placing your monitor at a particular angle and position can make it difficult for you to focus on the screen. Facing the screen directly exposes you to more screen contrast. The brightness and contrast used by the digital screen can also cause CVS.
How To Avoid Computer Vision Syndrome
- To combat this syndrome, the 20-20-20 rule can be helpful. This rule implies you should take a 20-second break every 20 minutes. Then focus on points 20ft from your computer screen.
- As we don’t blink normally as we should when staring at the screen, blinking consciously will moisten your eyes and reduce irritation.
- Using screens with anti-glare filters are good for the eyes. It has adequate light. You can also consider using computer glasses that reduce glare. You can checkout some cool computer glasses here.
- It’s easier to look down at a screen, ensure you keep your computer 15- 20 degrees below eye level.
- Place your computer screen 46-66cm away from your eyes and get a proper chair to sit.
- The computer screen should be placed away from overhead lighting or windows. You can put blinds on windows to prevent glare. You can also replace the bulb in the desk lamp with that of lower wattage.
- If you can not minimize glare from light sources, you should consider a screen glare filter. This filter will reduce the amount of light reflected on your screen.
- Ensure your chair is well padded and conform to your body shape. Your feet should rest flat on the floor when sitting on the chair. You can get adjustable ones.
- You can also opt for a chair with arms. Adjust it to provide arm support for you as you type. Then, ensure you do not rest your wrists on the keyboard while typing.
- You can get a massager for your neck to help you feel less tense and ease blood flow in your muscles
- Always try to relax your eyes when you are using the computer for too long. You can rest your eyes for about 15 minutes following 2 hours of continuous computer use.
Develop a regular eye check-up habit and have a proper viewing habit. Follow the 20-20-20 rule. This will also help in preventing the development of Computer Vision Syndrome.
Guest article by Dr. Charles-Davies, a medical doctor that loves to spend time creating health content to help people understand their body and health better.