Computer Vision Syndrome
Computer vision syndrome(CVS), 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. These problems have been increasing in frequency over the past few decades. Many people have some symptoms if they use a computer or digital device for long periods. Most computer or digital device users have symptoms at least some of the time. Digital eye strain is very common in both children and adults.
To help alleviate digital eyestrain, follow the 20-20-20 rule; take a 20-second break to view something 20 feet away every 20 minutes.
Computer vision syndrome can cause many symptoms, including:
• Blurred vision
• Double vision
• Dry eye
• Eye discomfort
• Eye fatigue
• Eye itching
• Eye redness
• Eye tearing
• Neck and shoulder pain
Most of these symptoms are short-term (temporary). They often lessen or go away when you stop using your computer or device. But symptoms may continue for a longer time
Computer vision syndrome occurs as a result of prolonged digital screen use.
Digital screens cause a person’s eyes to work harder than normal. Several factors are responsible for this, including –
• the screen content being less sharp or focused
• poor contrast of the screen’s content against its background
• reflections or glare bouncing off the screen
The following factors may also contribute to CVS:
• viewing the screen in low light conditions
• being too close to or too far from the screen
• positioning the screen at an angle that causes eye strain
• taking insufficient screen breaks
Together, these factors put greater demands on the eyes’ ability to track and focus. These demands are even higher for people who have minor uncorrected vision problems.
If the additional demands on the visual system occur over extended periods, a person may experience symptoms of CVS.
Risk Factors –
You may be at greater risk for digital eye strain if you:
• Spend a few hours or more a day at a computer or on a digital device
• Are too close to your computer or digital device screen
• View your computer or digital device at the wrong angle
• Have bad posture while using your computer or digital device
• Have eye problems (even minor ones) not corrected with glasses or contact lenses
• Have a pair of glasses that is not suitable for viewing the distance of your computer
• Don’t take breaks while you are working
The symptoms of CVS will usually go away after a sufficient break from screen use. However, people who have underlying eye or vision problems will need to treat these problems to prevent future episodes of CVS.
• Regular eye checkups
People who do not visit their eye doctor regularly may have undiagnosed vision problems that worsen as a result of prolonged screen use. Others may be using outdated prescription glasses or lenses that are no longer effective in correcting their vision problems.
Regular visits to an eye doctor can reduce the risk of CVS and other vision problems.
• Vision therapy
Vision therapy is a form of therapy that aims to develop or improve a person’s vision. It involves the use of eye exercises to improve eye movement and focusing.
• Laser eye surgery
Some people with underlying vision problems may be good candidates for laser eye surgery. This procedure uses lasers to reshape the surface of the eye so that it can focus more effectively
The best way to prevent CVS is to avoid long and uninterrupted periods of digital screen use. However, this is not an option for many people who work at a computer.
The AOA (American Optometric Association) recommend following the 20-20-20 rule when working at a computer. Doing this involves taking a 20-second break every 20 minutes to view something that is 20 feet away. Following the 20-20-20 rule can reduce eye strain from digital screen use.
Other tips for preventing the symptoms of CVS include:
• Positioning the screen at the optimal distance, which will be about 20–28 inches from the eyes
• Positioning the screen at a comfortable angle, with the center of the screen 15–20 degrees below eye level
• Ensuring that there is adequate lighting
• Using an antiglare screen or changing the angle of the screen to avoid glare from lighting
• Remembering to blink regularly enough to avoid eye dryness
• Wearing glasses or lenses to correct any underlying vision problems, where necessary
• Sitting comfortably with both feet flat on the floor and support in place for the arms while typing
• Taking regular rest breaks
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