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Know more about Computer Vision Syndrome
Do you spend more than 2 hours in a day working on a computer? Do your eyes feel tired in the evening after working on a computer screen? Do you occasionally suffer from blurred vision or stiff neck and shoulder pains? If your answer is yes to any of the two questions, you are not alone. Like million others, you too may be suffering from the Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) or eye strain.
Computer vision syndrome or CVS is the straining of the eyes which occurs when a person uses computer/laptop for continuous and prolonged periods of time. It is usually a temporary discomfort which fades away on its own, however if the discomfort continues to linger or worsens, one needs to follow simple day to day practices to minimize it. More than half of the people who work on computers have at least some symptoms related to eye strain problems. Nowadays even children are suffering through these issues due to continuous usage of video games, mobile phones and television.
What causes Computer Vision Syndrome?
Less of blinking: Blinking is the natural reflex of eyes to keep it moist. When you work on computers you blink less than the normal. The normal blink rate in human eyes is 16–20 per minute. Studies have shown that the blink rate decreases to as low as 6–8 blinks/minute for persons working on the computer screen. Obviously, this causes dry eyes.
Visual problems: People who are already nearsighted, farsighted, or have astigmatism are more likely to develop computer vision syndrome. Multi-focal lenses make it even more difficult because the screen is higher and further away from the zones meant for distance & near.
Computer glare and reflection: Glare from surrounding lamps and lights can also lead to eyestrain.
Improper workstation design: One of the most common problems in workstation set-up is that the monitor of the computer is placed too high. The top of the screen should be at eye level. This is because the ideal gaze angle is 10 to 20 degrees below the eye. A screen that is too high can lead to dry, irritated eyes as you blink less frequently. It also causes headaches, neck and upper back pain because the head is tilted towards the back to see the screen.
Dry environment and dehydration: Air conditioners strip the air of its moisture. Dehydration when combined with dryness can worsen dry eyes thereby making you prone to Computer Vision Syndrome.
Reading new, unfamiliar material at work: When you strain to read something new at your work desk and have to do it in a tight deadline, the mind can become stressed and agitated. Stress affects the whole upper body – the arms, shoulders, neck and head. This explains why reading at work can be so draining and exhausting, but then you can go home and watch television for 3 hours or sink into your favorite chair with a magazine. Mental states can interfere with normal vision.
How to avoid Computer Vision Syndrome?
1. Use proper lighting. Put shades and drapes on windows to avoid bright light coming from outside, when you are working on a computer.
2. Adjust the brightness of your computer screen. Closely match the brightness of the environment with that of your computer screen, by using the buttons on the monitor.
3. Reduce glare. Install an anti-glare screen on your monitor. Again, when outside light cannot be reduced, use a computer hood. Have an anti-reflective coating applied to your glasses. This will prevent glare and reflections on the backside of your lenses from reaching your eyes.
4. Take frequent breaks. Avoid working on computer screen for long hours. Do phone calls, or get up for a glass of water, chat with a colleague to relieve eye strain.
5. Follow 20-20-20 rule. Take a 20 second break and look 20 feet away every 20 minutes. This exercise will help you prevent strained near vision and stretch your focusing muscles.
6. Remember to blink as it rewets the eyes.
7. Exercise even when sitting. Anyone in a sedentary job, especially those using computers, should stand up, move about, or exercise their arms, legs, back, neck, and shoulders frequently.
8. While these measures will resolve Computer Vision Syndrome, in many cases it is recommended to visit an eye specialist for consultation whenever the above symptoms are observed.