- Vision & Eye Care
You Have Computer Vision Syndrome!
What Is Computer Vision Syndrome?
Today, millions of people all over the world are affected by Computer Vision Syndrome or CVS without them realizing it. I am a full time work at home person who spends more than 10 hours a day on my PC. Although some people claim that there is no scientific evidence that computer screens are harmful to the eyes, experts believe that anyone who stares at a computer monitor for more than two hours a day is likely to experience CVS or Computer Vision Syndrome to some extent. I think I do experience it sometimes. So, if you spend more than 2 hours a day on your computer its time to have a look at your eyes.
Computer Vision Syndrome is the term used to describe a variety of vision related symptoms and CVS affects mental and physical well being and impacts productivity.
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Symptoms Of Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS)
Double Vision or Diplopia
Double vision or Diplopia is the perception of two images from a single object. The images may be horizontal, vertical, or diagonal. Although many other reasons like head injuries, intoxication from alcohol, staring too long at your computer screen may cause double vision.
Dry eye syndrome (DES) or simply dry eyes is an eye condition caused by decrease in tear production or increased tear film evaporation. If we stare at our computer screen for long periods without blinking this condition may occur.
Temporary nearsightedness or shortsightedness or myopia causes nearby objects seen clearly, but distant objects appear blurred. Ophthalmologists and optometrists usually correct myopia using corrective lenses.
Photophobia or Decreased Tolerance to Light
Photophobia or fear of light, is excessive sensitivity to light. In medical terms, it is not fear, but an experience of discomfort or pain to the eyes due to light exposure. (I suffer from this sometimes)
Eye strain or Asthenopia is an eye condition that manifests itself through nonspecific symptoms such as fatigue, red eyes, eye strain, pain in or around the eyes, blurred vision, headache and occasional double vision. When we concentrate on a visually intense task like continuously focusing on computer screen or book.
CRT monitors with a low refresh rate less than 70 Hz can cause similar problems because of the flickering image. Aging computer screens also often go slightly out of focus, and this can also cause eye strain.
What Causes CVS Symptoms?
Characters on a computer screen do not have sharp edges compared to the printed ones. The pixels are brightest at the center and decreases in intensity towards the edges. This makes it very difficult for our eyes to maintain focus. Trying to focus extensively do not allow the eye muscles to move frequently, and this leads to eye strain, burning and fatigue.
Computer users usually have a fixed posture. Gazing constantly at a computer screen from a close distance leads to convergence fatigue.
Lack of image clarity often makes a computer user to stare more intensely in an effort to focus.
Glare from reflections and lights on computer screens from overhead lights or direct light coming through windows and bouncing off the screens tires the eyes.
Infrequent blinking causes the tear film in our eyes to evaporate. While a person blinks 15 times per minute, the blink rate comes down to 5 times in a minute when working on a computer because of continuosly staring at the screen. Blinking is important for spreading of tears to form an even film on the eye surface. Inadequate blinking causes the eyes to become dry and irritated.
What Can Be Done To Reduce Computer Vision Syndrome?
Anyone who has the symptoms or suspects of CVS should have a thorough eye check with an eye specialist. Apart from this a few precautions could reduce the risk of CVS.
Ideally the monitor should be at a distance of 16-30 inches from the eyes depending on the size of your screen. Also adjust the height of the computer table or the chair, so that the middle of the screen is 15-20 degrees below eye level. Always try to use an ergonomic chair as it helps in reducing neck and back pains in users.
Avoid Air Drafts
Avoid sitting in front of a pedestal/table fan or an airconditioner facing its air draft while working on a computer.
Position your computer screen so that the windows are to the side rather than the back or front. Using glare filter screens on monitors are helpful.
Make a conscious effort to blink more often. Try to blink every time you make a click with the mouse or every time you hit "ENTER!. Alternately you could try the suggested formula 20:20:20. That is, every 20 minutes : for 20 seconds : blink 20 times.
Use Eye Lubrication
Lubricating eye drops help to moisturize your eyes. Eyes become dry and irritated by working for long hours on the computer. Lubricating eye drops help in reducing eye strain and redness, provides soothing effect to he eyes and relieves irritation.
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Take A Break
Take a 5 minute break for every thirty munutes of work on your computer. This can reduce eye fatigue and get you refreshed.
If you experience any of the following do not hesitate to consult your ophthalmologist: for you may be a victim of Computer Vision Syndrome!
Burning eyes, double vision, eye fatigue or tiredness, blurry distance vision when looking up from the monitor, dry, tired, or sore eyes, when you need to squint to focus on the screen, neck, shoulder, or back pain, when it seems that thr letters on the screen run together,headaches during or after working at the computer, when driving or during night vision is worse after using a computer, when you see "halos" around objects on the screen, and when you need to interrupt work frequently to rest eye.
An estimated 40 percent to 70 percent of computer users suffer from dry, irritated eyes associated with Computer Vision Syndrome. The good news is that it can be treated.