Computers. Smart phones. Tablets. Television. E-readers. The average American worker spends seven hours a day on the computer. Combined with screen time at home, American adults spend up to 12 hours a day in front of digital screens. Viewing a computer or digital screen makes the eyes work harder. Research shows that between 50% and 90% of people who work at a computer screen develop eye discomfort and vision problems called Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS). Symptoms of CVS include:
Many of these symptoms will decline or resolve after we stop looking at screens. However, symptoms are likely to recur and may even worsen if no action is taken to address the cause of the problem. Here are 10 simple steps you can take to prevent or reduce vision problems associated with CVS:
Get regular eye exams
Even minor vision problems can exacerbate symptoms of computer-related eyestrain.
Proper workstation ergonomics
Make sure your computer is at or only slightly below (15-20 degrees) eye level, or about 15 to 20 degrees. Ideally, your computer screen should be 30 to 40 inches away from your eyes.
Work from a cushioned chair that allows you to keep your knees and hips and 90-degree angles, back upright, and your head positioned so your ears are over your shoulders.
Provide sufficient light but avoid glare.
If there is no way to minimize glare, consider using a glare filter to decrease light reflected from the screen.
Adjust your computer settings
Consider adjusting the brightness, contrast, and font size of your computer until you find what’s best for you.
To minimize dry eye, try to blink frequently to keep the surface of your eye moist.
If increasing your blinking rate is not sufficient to manage dry eyes, consider lubricating eye drops or artificial tears.
Give your eyes a break
Follow the 20-20-20 rule. Look away from the screen every 20 minutes or so and look at something around 20 feet away for about 20 seconds.
Take short breaks to stretch muscles or walk briefly. This not only gives your eyes a rest, but also manages muscle soreness and will help improve your focus and efficiency when you return to your work.
Computer vision syndrome is a new problem that has emerged in this century following increased usage of computers and other screens both at work and at home. Prevention remains the main strategy for managing symptoms of CVS. Following these simple steps will set you up for success!
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