Computer vision syndrome (CVS) encompasses a group of vision-related problems that result from prolonged computer, tablet, e-reader and smartphone use.

CVS can cause eyestrain, headaches, dry eyes, blurry vision, and neck and shoulder pain. Poor lighting, screen glare and improper viewing distance can contribute to these issues. So can poor posture and uncorrected vision problems. Fortunately, many of these issues are only temporary but if nothing is done to address the cause of the problem, the symptoms will continue to recur and perhaps worsen with future digital screen use.

REPETITIVE MOTION INJURIES

When you work at a computer, your eyes must focus and refocus all the time. They move back and forth as you read. They react to changing images on the screen so your brain can process what you are seeing. All these jobs require a lot of effort from your eye muscles.
To make things worse, unlike a book or piece of paper, the screen adds contrast, flicker, and glare.

WHAT TO DO?

General steps can be taken to help alleviate problems associated with CVS:

  • Ensure that your computer screen is properly placed. It should be 15 to 20 degrees below your eye level when measured from the screen’s center and about 50 to 70 centimeters away from your eyes.
  • Prevent glare on your screen by closing blinds on windows. Additionally, use an antiglare screen, which reduces the amount of light reflected from your screen.
  • Remember the 20- 20- 20 rule: Every 20 minutes, take 20 seconds and look 20 meters away.
  • Keep your chair adjusted so your feet rest flat on the floor.
  • Blink regularly, which will help to keep your eyes moist.

If the problems persist, CVS will need to be diagnosed with a comprehensive eye exam. Your eye care professional will then devise a plan of action (e.g. visual therapy and special lens designs).

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