Computer vision syndrome, also known as digital eye strain, describes a group of eye and vision related problems which result from prolonged computer, tablet and cell phone use. People spend long time on their computers and portable electronic devices these days which contributes to increased potential for eye strain.
The total time spent staring at a screen on a daily basis
How close one sit to computer screen or hold electronic devices to eyes
The types of activities for which the devices are used. ( action games may cause eye fatigue quicker than surfing the web, texting or reading an e-book)
How often one blink
How many breaks one takes in between.
Uncorrected vision problems
The most common symptoms associated with computer vision syndrome or digital eye strain are
Burning or stinging eyes
Sensitivity to light
Back and neck pain
Redness in the eyes
Dry, itchy or irritated eyes
Difficulty focusing on the screen
Difficulty in shifting focus from the monitor to other work
Looking at the computer screen often makes the eyes work harder. Symptoms may be caused due to poor lighting, improper viewing distance, poor seating posture, uncorrected or undercorrected vision problems, glare on a digital screen.
Tips to deal with computer vision syndrome
Eyeglasses or contact lenses prescribed for general use may not be adequate for computer work. Lenses prescribed to meet the unique visual demands of computer viewing may be required.
Adjust your viewing angle
The angle of your gaze plays a key role in computer vision syndrome. The computer screen should be 15 to 20 degrees below eye level ( about 4 to 5 inches) as measured from the centre of the screen and 20 to 28 inches from the eyes. Keep reference materials above the keyboard and below the monitor or a document holder can be used beside the monitor. The aim is to position the documents so that one do not need to move head to look from the documents to the screen.
Position the screen to avoid glare from overhead lights or windows. Use drapes or curtains on windows and replace light bulb in desk lamps with lower watt bulbs. If there is no way to lessen glare from light sources, use a screen glare filter which decreases the amount of light reflected from the screen.
Use a comfortably padded chairs. Chair height should be adjusted so that feet rest flat on the floor. If the chair has arms, they should be adjusted to provide arm support while typing. Wrists should not rest on the keyboard when typing.
To avoid or minimize dry eyes make an effort to blink frequently. Blinking keeps the eyes moist. People tend to blink less when staring at the screen, which can cause eyes to become dry and irritated.
Try to rest eyes when using the computer for long periods to prevent eyestrain. Follow the 20-20-20 rule. Take 20 seconds break from the screen every 20 minutes and look at something 20 feet away.
Regular eye examinations and proper viewing habits can help to prevent or lessen the development of the symptoms associated with computer vision syndrome.