Simple Ways To Avoid Computer Vision Syndrome
Computer Vision Syndrome : Be Eye Aware
If you use a computer regularly, there is quite a high chance that you suffer from CVS, that is Computer Vision Syndrome. Ergonomic studies have shown that most computer users have some or all of the eye problems that can develop with prolonged use of computers.
Working with my adult beginner students in their computing class, I make sure to remind them to blink. It's a simple, but effective preventative measure. Viewing a computer screen close-up, and focusing intently on it, can cause you to stare at the screen. After a while, this will reduce the rate at which you blink, leading to dry eyes and eye strain. In turn this can lead on to other eye problems and headaches. Blinking and keeping hydrated are useful tips for us all. In this lens, I offer some additional preventative measures and tips that I hope will help you reduce or prevent CVS symptoms.
The photos on this page are my own, and copyright to me, unless otherwise stated. Please do not use without my written permission.
Safe Viewing - Allow your eyes to rest
One very simple way to reduce eye strain is to allow the eye muscles to rest. If you focus continually on the computer screen, you can overload the muscles for close vision. The solution is simple, just look away from the screen and focus on something at least 20 feet away. Use the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, focus on something at least 20 feet away, for 20 seconds. You just have to remember to do it! If you work too intently to remember, you could try using a built-in reminder, such as the EyeDefender freeware rest reminder.
Another useful option is a pair of computer glasses. They have lenses specially designed to reduce the eye strain that can come with prolonged computer use. You should, in any case, have regular eye checks. If you need corrective glasses or contact lenses, wearing them will help to protect your eyes. If you don't need to wear corrective lenses, you could still find computer glasses beneficial and you should certainly consult an eye doctor if you are having any eye problems from computer use.
There are many Designs of Computer Glasses available
Generally, they are not expensive, and could save you years of headaches and eyestrain. I find it surprising how often I have to suggest to adult beginners that they get their vision checked. this is usually because they are hunched up close to the screen, squinting or complaining that they can't read text on the screen. If you have any of these difficulties, please get your eyes checked.... For your own good!
Dr Grant's Computer ultra lightweight rimless glasses are available in three age appropriate lens powers to relax your eye muscles and help focus. The tinted lenses enhance images and contrast, while the anti-reflective coating helps to reduce glare. They also have a UV coating to protect your eyes from screen radiation.
PCX12 Computer Glasses are available in 3 different Magnification Levels. They can help you to maintain the correct distance from the computer screen (18-24 inches), reduce glare and help to prevent eye strain and headaches. Click for more information about Magnification levels 1,2 or 3.
If you prefer to wear your own glasses, but would like some protection, you can opt for clip-ons.
For increased contrast and sharper detail on the computer screen, these very light (21 grams), comfortable computer lenses are easy to use, as they simply clip onto your prescription glasses. You can flip them up, when not needed for the computer screen, They have distortion-free, anti-reflective and scratch resistant lenses.
Top Quality Gunnar Computer Glasses
A little more expensive, but great computer glasses. Click on any of the pictures for more information, and the current prices, or to see more choices.
Do You Take Breaks?
I tell my students to take regular breaks when computing. They usually nod wisely... but, I wondered if they do take breaks from computing when they go home.
Tell the truth, do you take regular breaks from your computer?
The Best View
Whether you use a desktop computer or a laptop, there are some issues to bear in mind. For me, the first is size. As a teacher of computing, I believe you should minimise your use of small-screened devices. I have a desktop computer, a laptop, a netbook and an iPad. It's very difficult to work on the netbook - I bought it for emergency use whilst travelling. It was OK for emails and facebook, but I found it hard to write letters or edit photos with such a small screen. The iPad has a slightly larger working screen, but I see this more as a fun, communication toy. It gave the netbook the boot from my travel bag as it is significantly lighter. So, when I work seriously, it has to be the larger-screened desktop or laptop computers.
When I got fed up with the hefty old monitor taking up most of my working space, I upgraded to a flat-screen monitor. I couldn't even give the old monitor away! Not surprising really, as it was so difficult to move around (ouch, my back...). For good computer-health, it should be possible to adjust the position of your monitor to prevent back and neck ache, and cut glare (see below). The prices of LED and LCD flat-screen monitors have reduced significantly in the last few years, and the quality has improved dramatically, so it is now possible to get a sleek, large-screened monitor at a very reasonable price.
Once you have the right monitor, make sure it is adjusted to suit you. It's easy to adjust the brightness of the screen. For a PC, click the start button, select "control panel" from the menu. This will open the control panel window. Select "hardware & sound", and then "display". Here you can adjust screen resolution, screen brightness, and other display settings, such as text size.
Use the best equipment you can
It's not necessarily about spending a lot of money. It's more about considering the size of your work space, the layout of the room, and checking out the consumer reviews available on all good websites.
Do you need to replace your monitor?
Using a good quality monitor can completely change your computing experience! I'm very happy with my Viewsonic monitor.
Dell is a well-known and trusted name in computing. Color reproduction is very good on the bright display, so text and photos are clear and crisp.
The Dell has a 23.8 Inches Full HD display, with an amazingly thin bezel.
It is VESA mount compatible, but has a versatile stand included, which allows pivot, swivel, and rotate up to 90 degrees.
The LP2361 is another monitor that has received excellent reviews. It is a versatile high definition monitor, with ultra-slim profile, suitable for any work or home environment. It has 23.6 inch viewing area, 16:9 display ratio, and 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution.
Keep your distance
Over the years, I have seen a few students who hunch-up close to the computer screen. I usually ask them if they have had their eyes checked recently. If not, I advise that they should. Sitting to close to the screen can aggrevate the issues caused by glare. It can also lead to postural problems, back and neck ache. If you need to wear glasses for computing, please do so - protect your vision!
Your viewing distance should be 18 to 24 inches, looking slightly down at the monitor, elbows at your sides, and your wrists straight. Check yourself now!
And, keep it tidy, unlike the photo... If your workspace is untidy and cluttered, it will be much more difficult to keep on top of your workload and keep up these good health tips.
The photo, by AlainV, is in the public domain. I have cropped and resized it.
I'm not a great believer in slouching on the couch or lying in bed with a laptop. However, if you must do it, you can mitigate some of the issues by using a correctly designed laptop tray. And, that doesn't mean "a cushion"! Laptop trays can also be very useful for preventing the laptop from over-heating. That, I approve of!
Adustable height to mitigate postural problems, vented to keep laptop cooler.
Adustable height to mitigate neck and back problems.
Are you sitting comfortably?
Don't forget this important aspect of computer health and safety. You should be able to sit comfortably, at the correct distance, and with your back appropriately supported.
Ergonomically-designed kneeling chairs can help you regain a natural posture and reduce lower back strain. They also sit you in a correct position to allow your diaphragm to move efficiently, which is good for promoting better circulation and breathing.
Myth or Reality?
Are we obsessed with health and safety? Is it all just a scare story? Or is it sensible to take some precautions to protect your eyes?
Do you consider your health while using the computer?
Cut the glare
Glare is one of the main causes of eye strain. A bit like magpies, we have a tendency to like bright, shiny objects, but bright, shiny computer screens are a definite eye-health hazard. There are some simple tips for cutting down glare to protect your eyes.First, make sure that your screen is positioned and adjusted correctly. If you can, place the screen at 90 degrees to your window, but don't sit in a twisted way, as that will just give you a different kind of problem! Anti-glare film on your windows can cut glare and help to maintain a comfortable working temperature in the summer months.
If you work after dark, be careful about the room-lighting. You should diffuse the light on ceiling lamps or desk lamps by using a shade or globe to soften the light. But, don't work in the dark - it's too difficult to see the keyboard, and will also strain your eyes!
There are many screen filters available which can be clipped over or attached to the screen. These filters can cut the glare and reduce eye strain, but also they can protect from static and radiation. Pick a lightweight filter, of the correct size for your screen. Some filters also help with privacy and protection of confidential information, by narrowing the angle for the viewing the screen.
The photo, by Tuakshay, has been released into the public domain. I have cropped and resized it.
Anti-glare screen filters
Make sure you select a filter that is the correct size for your computer screen!
Reduce Glare In Your Rooms
Of course, it isn't just computer screens that are affected by glare. If you prefer, it is simple enough to fit anti-glare film to your windows. This has the advantage of helping to maintain room temparature during the summer months, and cutting down on harmful radiation. And a bonus: protection of your book covers, photos and other valuable objects from sun-induced fading.
Would you like more information on any of these topics?
- Computer Glasses - What Are Computer Glasses
Do you need a pair of computer glasses? Learn about computer glasses and how they might relieve eyestrain caused by the computer.
- Computers and Vision - Can Computers Harm Vision
An answer to the question: I work at a computer every day. Can computers harm vision?
- Computer Vision Syndrome and Eyestrain - A Natural Approach
Do you have eyestrain, dry, irritated eyes and blurry vision after hours at the computer? Find out about a natural approach to computer vision syndrome and eyestrain.
- How To Eliminate Glare - Tips to Reduce Glare
Ways how to reduce and eliminate glare to reduce eye strain.
- EyeDefender - Home
EyeDefender a freeware rest reminder to help you avoid eyestrain