These days, many of us have jobs that require us to stare at our computer screens for hours upon hours, which can put an unpleasant strain on our eyes. This is known as Computer vision syndrome (CVS) or digital eye strain, which usually describes a type of eye problem caused by prolonged use of digital screens. And recently with the pandemic, along with the series of lockdowns, this problem has become more prevalent not just among the adults who have to work from home but also the children who have to sit hours on end in front of their digital screens for their online classes.
To be clear, digital eye strain or computer vision syndrome is not just one specific problem but rather includes a whole range of eye strain and discomfort with varying symptoms. In fact, studies have shown that about 50% to 90% of people who work at a computer screen may have at least one symptom. Read on to learn more about this condition –from its causes to symptoms to lifestyle tips that may help prevent it.
How Do Computers Affect Vision?
Similar to carpal tunnel syndrome that stems from repetitive motion, computer vision syndrome occurs due to the same repetitive movement of the eyes, which can get worse upon continuation. Our eyes are constantly and repeatedly shifting up and down, focusing and refocusing as we are working at a computer, which can put a real strain on the eye muscles. This tire out the eyes and their muscles, and make them less flexible with time. Additionally, the glare, contrast and sharp text from the screen can make it difficult for our eyes to focus properly. Moreover, working at a computer tends to make us blink less frequently than usual, which can dry out our eyes and blur our vision as we are working. It has been shown that people who already have eye problems and those wearing the wrong prescription glasses for computer use are more likely to have computer vision syndrome.
What Are The Symptoms?
Computer vision syndrome involves not just one but a whole range of eyes issues with symptoms varying from person to person. Fortunately, there has been no evidence that CVS causes permanent (long-term) damage to the eyes. Nonetheless, it can cause a number of problems including:
- Eye discomfort
- Blurred vision
- Double vision
- Eye itching
- Dry, red, teary eyes
- Eye fatigue
- Eye irritation
- Neck or back pain
Despite being temporary, it is important to know that these symptoms could worsen and affect not just your eyes but your work performance and general wellbeing if you do not address them at the earliest.
Treatment Option for Computer Vision Syndrome
As mentioned earlier, problems regarding CVS are usually temporary and not something that may require a doctor’s assistance. Incorporating a few simple changes can be beneficial in reducing the symptoms you are experiencing and preventing new problems. These include:
1. Adjust your computer
The ideal position for a monitor is about 4 to 5 inches slightly below eye level and about 20 to inches away from your face. Avoid stretching your neck to see what is on the screen. Additionally, tilt your screen back to about 10 to 20 degrees. This can help you avoid constantly tilting your neck upward or backwards to see the screen. On top of this, you can also adjust the text, images, contrast, brightness, font size so that they are easier to view and to avoid putting strain on your eyes.
2. Eliminate the glare
Glare from your computer screen can cause strain and discomfort in your eyes. You can avoid this by changing the light around you. You can also close the blinds or curtains, or move your monitor to avoid reflecting lights. Dimming the overhead lights or adding a glare filter to your computer can help in minimizing this issue and preventing eye strain.
3. Take regular breaks
Since CVS occurs from prolonged use of a digital screen, minimizing the time spent in front of the screen can effectively help reduce and prevent eye strain or discomfort. Following the 20-20-20 rule, which involves looking at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes, can help your eyes refocus and rest. And be sure to avoid using any digital screen during your break time.
4. Blink frequently
Blinking helps lubricate your eyes by spreading moisture and mucus across your eyes. However, people tend to blink less often than they usually do when working at a computer, which dries out the eyes and causes irritation. Make sure to blink often when using a computer or any other digital device to avoid any of the complications. You can also use eye drops to help counteract dry eyes.
5. Use the correct eyeglasses
Wearing the wrong prescription can make it harder for your eyes to focus correctly, which can increase your risk for eye strain and headaches. Make sure to wear the right prescription glasses, especially if you are working in front of a computer. A visit to the doctor can help you figure out the right prescription for you or suggest a special pair that may be a single or bifocal lens or tinted ones to help boost contrast and filter out glare.
6. Take eye-healthy supplements
Sometimes, reducing eye strain or discomfort requires a nutritious boost from within. That is where healthy natural supplements like Visiongold Juice from Preserva Wellness come in. This eye-healthy, nutritious supplement contains all the goodness of Aloe Vera, Triphala, Carrot and Curcumin, uniquely blended to bring forth a rich formulation that protects your eyes and preserves your sight. It helps reduce eye strain, improves eyesight, reduces puffiness in the eyes, and is also beneficial for preventing and managing eye-related issues, such as diabetic retinopathy, conjunctivitis and eye infections. It is 100% vegetarian with no chemicals whatsoever, making it safe and suitable even for kids!
The Bottom Line
Digital eye strain or Computer vision syndrome has become an increasing concern, not just the working adults but also among most kids. This is not surprising considering the amount of time we spend in front of our digital screens, and the current lockdown implementations due to the current pandemic have also added more to the problem. Fortunately, CVS does not cause any permanent damage, which makes it an easily manageable condition. One thing for sure is that you don’t have to completely give up your screen time. It all depends on how you view your digital screen. The above-mentioned tips are an excellent way to treat this condition and help prevent all kinds of symptoms and discomforts regarding Computer vision syndrome.