Computer Vision Syndrome

Are your eyes tired, sore, dry and red while reading this post? Blurry or even double? Headache, brow ache and dull pressure behind your eyes?

Like it or not, when asked the question of how many hours per day spent on the computer, the answer is generally- too much. Whether it’s voluntary or involuntary or something in between, computers have become the essence of day to day modern living. From the never ending emails to facebook, games and online shopping computers are now ubiquitous.

Computer vision syndrome describes general problems experienced by a computer user in relation to their vision and eyes. Some common symptoms are eyestrains, headaches, blurry vision (even with glasses on), dry eyes and general discomfort around the eyes. Viewing a computer screen is straining and strenuous for the eyes and visual system due to glare, reflections, contrast and definition to name a few. Some people are more susceptible to the symptoms of computer vision syndrome especially in presence of uncorrected long sightedness, astigmatism and presbyopia as well as general binocular vision imbalance or problems.

6 Ways to help with computer vision syndrome:

  1. Limiting computer use. This will remove to cause of the problem and most people are free of computer vision syndrome symptoms but in all honestly this is not very realistic in this day and age where a large portion of work is dependent on computer usage.
  2. Spectacles suited for computer use. Spectacles can be made specifically for computer usage to relieve some of the strain from your eyes and help your eyes to focus. An occupational lens type is also available to presbyopic people who require reading glasses.
  3. Regular breaks looking at distant targets. A minute or so break every 20-40min will act like a stretch for your eyes.
  4. Blink regularly. Often people blink significantly less when on the computer resulting in uncomfortable and dry eyes. Make a conscious effort to blink more often.
  5. Downward location of the computer screen. It may be more comfortable to view the screen when the eyes are looking downwards. The positioning of the eyelids when looking down also means less of the eyes are exposed which may help with the dryness too. People who require the use of multifocal or progressive types of spectacles will benefit when the position of the computer screen is in line with the intermediate focus part of the lens.
  6. Lighting and anti-glare screens. Angle the computer screen to avoid glare from artificial lighting and windows. An anti-glare filter on the screens will also decrease the light reflected from the screen. 

Other ways to make extended computer use comfortable are:

  1. Seating. A chair that is comfortable with ergonomic designs will help with the general comfort of computer use.  Adjusting your chair height so that your feet rest flat will help also.
  2. A small water feature or humidifier will also help make the environment less dusty and dry especially in environments with heating or air conditioning.

It is most important for you to get a comprehensive eye exam as uncorrected eyes that require spectacle or contact lens correction will be more sensitive to the symptoms of computer vision syndrome. As mentioned above, spectacles may be made especially for the use of computers so advice from an eye care professional is highly recommended to optimize the comfort of your day to day computer use.