In today’s modern working world, staring at a computer screen for hours each day is common normality. But did you know that this excessive exposure to computer monitors can put so much strain on your eyes that you could be diagnosed with a serious medical condition? Computer Vision Syndrome, or CVS, encompasses an array of eyestrain and pain issues as a result of frequent computer use.
What Is Computer Vision Syndrome?
Computer Vision Syndrome, also known as CVS or Digital Eye Strain, isn’t restricted to one simple definition. In fact, the syndrome is a label for a broad spectrum of eye problems that result in excessive contact with computer screens, tablets, e-readers, cell phones and even television screens. Though CVS has not been proven to cause long-term, irreparable damage to the eyes (like cataracts) it can lead to significant eyestrain, discomfort and vision problems.
Symptoms Of Computer Vision Syndrome
CVS symptoms present mainly in individuals who spend prolonged hours looking at computer monitors or screens of similar fashion. While discomfort and vision issues are the leading symptoms of CVS, you may be experiencing side effects of the syndrome if you have the following:
- Blurred or double vision
- Dry, red eyes
- Irritated eyes
- Frequent headaches
- Pain in your neck, shoulders and/or back
What Causes CVS?
One of the largest misconceptions about CVS is that the actual computer screen causes the symptoms. While viewing a computer monitor or digital screen does make the eyes work harder than normal, the leading causes of CVS tend to lie in the area or environment of the computer, like:
- Poor lighting.
- Harsh glares on the screen.
- Improper viewing distances.
- Poor posture.
- Previous or uncorrected vision problems.
Many of these symptoms can appear together or worsen as you subject your self to significant computer time. However, if you already suffer from vision problems like near or farsightedness, astigmatism, presbyopia and/or inadequate focusing and coordination abilities, you are more likely to suffer from the visual symptoms of CVS.
Lastly, individuals who spend at least two consecutive hours in front of a computer screen are at the greatest risk of CVS. Because of this persistent visual demand on the eyes, many frequent computer-users are more susceptible to the uncomfortable symptoms of CVS.
Solutions For Computer Vision Syndrome
Perhaps the most reliable and effective solution for CVS complications is to stop using the monitor or screen. However, when frequent computer use is necessary for work, simply stopping isn’t an option. Thankfully, there are several steps you can take to improve your eyesight and end the side effects of CVS.
1) Many symptoms of CVS are temporary and will resolve with decreased computer time. However, certain individuals with preexisting vision issues may continue to suffer from blurred vision or reduced visual abilities even after terminating computer use. If this sounds like you,contact your vision insurance provider to discuss ways you can address and resolve this problem. Specially designed lenses (with specific powers, tents or coatings) and vision therapy have proven to reduce lingering side effects of CVS.
2) Ensure that you are properly positioned for viewing the computer. This means that your screen should be 15 to 20 degrees below forward eyelevel, your arms should rest comfortably at a 100-110 degree angle on the keyboard, and your posture should be erect with feet flat on the floor and knees at a sturdy 90-degree angle.
3) Properly display your reference materials. Make sure all documents and materials you refer to are located above the keyboard and below the monitor. This reduces your need to move your head and allows your eyes to easily scan documents and transition to different materials.
4) Avoid harmful glares from overhead lights or bright windows by using either blinds or drapes and low-wattage light bulbs. If you are still experiencing glare on your screen, consider using a glare filter to decrease the amount of reflected light on the screen.
5) If you suffer from dry, itchy eyes when using a computer, you are most likely not blinking as often as you should. Make a conscious effort of blink frequently in order to keep the surface of your eye moist. If the problem persists, stop by your local pharmacy or drug store and pick up an over-the-counter eye drop to help lubricate and moisten your eye.
6) Lastly, be sure to take breaks. Resting your eyes every 15-20 minutes after two-hours of continuous computer use can greatly prevent harmful eyestrain. A common recommendation is that for every 20 minutes you view a computer screen, take at least 20 seconds for your eyes to rest and refocus by looking at something in the distance.
Eye complications due to CVS can be a serious matter, especially if symptoms interfere with everyday life. VSP Direct understands how important quality eyesight is, and they encourage you to take proper care of your eyes with frequent eye exams, professional care and a dependable vision insurance plan. Visit VSP Direct today to learn more about how you can improve your vision care today.