Computer vision syndrome (CVS) or digital eye strain is a group of vision problems that develop due to continuous use of digital appliances like computers, phones, tablets, e-readers, and laptops. Most of us are glued to our computer or phone screens throughout the day. The problems increase for those who already suffer from vision problems, wear spectacles or lenses and those who are older. Due to increase usage of phone and tablets by kids, even they are developing computer vision syndrome.
Why Does Computer Vision Syndrome Happen?
CVS happens because of the repetitive motion of the eyes over a period of time. The longer one continues the habit of extensive screen time, the problem gets worse. The eyes have to repeatedly adjust their focus as they continue reading over the computer screens. If you need to look at the paper then they have to again readjust their muscles to deal with changing images. With screen time, the problem increases as the eyes have to deal with glare, flickering, and contrast on the screen. For those above 40 years of age, due to degeneration of the optic muscles, CVS becomes a real threat.
Some symptoms of CVS are:
- Blurred vision
- Dry eyes
- Double vision
- Irritation in the eyes
- Pain in neck and shoulders
Ignoring the symptoms will increase the problem, so if you have any of these issues consult your doctor.
The severity of the symptoms that the patient experiences will depend on his visual ability, how much screen time they do, if they have prior vision problems, and their age. Many people experience a regression in the symptoms when they reduce their screen time or begin resting their eyes regularly. Doing certain things right helps to alleviate the problem.
- Eye Care
Many people benefit from using eyeglasses or contact lenses specially prescribed for computer-related work. Those whose vision doesn’t improve with these may need vision therapy. The eye exercises help to improve the user’s experience of a computer. One is the 20-20-20 rule. In this after every twenty minutes, the person should look away at an object twenty feet away for twenty seconds.
- Positioning the Computer
Keep the screen 15-20 degrees lower than eye level and roughly about 28 inches away from the face. Keep the reference materials, if any, at screen level.
To avoid glare from the screen, adjust the position of the screen. Avoid keeping the screen against a window or a light source. Use an anti-glare screen if possible. Ensure that there is no overhead lighting above the screen. Change the factory settings of your screen to suit your needs. Adjust screen brightness, contrast, and font size.
To avoid dry eyes, remember to blink frequently as it keeps the eye surface moist.
- Eye Exam
Getting regular eye examination helps to recognize symptoms of CVS. Also, get a regular eye exam for the kids.