In such a technology-driven world, it makes sense that many people work with computers every day. But the numbers are actually a little surprising. In a recent study, Microsoft found that the average worker spends seven hours a day in front of the computer. That’s more time than many people sleep. The real issue is that all that screen time can be damaging to your eyes.
Computer vision syndrome (CVS) is a problem that affects 50 to 90 percent of people who sit and work in front of computers all day. Symptoms of CVS can include itchy and burning eyes, headaches, blurred vision, back and neck pain, and light sensitivity. You may also feel more tired and exhausted than you would normally. If you experience even one of these symptoms on a regular basis, you are likely suffering from CVS.
CVS is now the number one computer-related complaint in the United States. And the problem just keeps growing. Doctors are seeing more and more cases every day. Patients complain of irritation, eye redness, blurry vision and headaches.
CVS Stems from Dry Eyes
Medical professionals say that the symptoms of CVS have a lot to do with not blinking enough. Blinking helps to keep your eyes moist, and when you go for long periods of time without blinking, your eyes begin to dry out and can get irritated. When you add in the fact that you’re sitting and trying to focus your eyes on the work you’re doing on your computer, you’re putting additional strain on your eyes and that is what leads to computer vision problems. Your eyes need to work pretty hard to adjust between looking at your screen and looking at the non-screen world around you.
You may want to think about reducing the amount of time you spend on the computer in order to relieve your symptoms. Although that may be helpful, CVS isn’t strictly associated with computers. CVS can also become a problem when you use your smartphone, tablet or iPad, or even when watching TV or playing video games.
Since it seems everyone these days has a cell phone glued to their hand all day long, the problem can’t simply be solved by reducing computer time. You also need to reduce the amount of time you spend surfing the web or texting on your phone and other gadgets.
There are also other steps you can take to relieve your symptoms. These steps are especially important for those of you who have jobs working on a computer. This is because you don’t have the choice to cut back on time spent in front of a screen. Try these other tactics to reduce your symptoms of CVS.
Relieving the Symptoms
To reduce or even prevent the symptoms of CVS, you should force yourself to take regular breaks when working for long periods in front of a screen. For every 10 minutes you spend on the computer, take 10 seconds to look away at something at least 10 feet in the distance. This will give your eyes an opportunity to rest and relax, as well as re-lubricate before you get back to work.
You should also keep a bottle of artificial tears on hand. This way you can lubricate your eyes periodically throughout the day. Taking frequent breaks is also important. Not only for giving your eyes a chance to relax, but so you can stretch out the rest of your body as well. Even just getting up from your desk and walking across the room to grab a cup of coffee would be helpful.
Make sure the room you’re in is well lit. Try to place bright lights above you instead of shining in your eyes or toward your computer. Pay attention to the brightness of your computer screen too. If it’s too bright or not bright enough, it can strain your eyes and irritate them.
Your computer screen should be the same brightness as the rest of the room so that there isn’t a difference in light when you look from your computer to somewhere else in the room. When your room and screen are in equal brightness, your eyes won’t have to work so hard to adjust to abrupt changes.
Get Your Eyes Checked
If you are experiencing symptoms of CVS, you should have your eyes examined to see if there are any underlying problems that could be contributing to the severity of your symptoms. If you wear corrective lenses, your prescription may have changed. Or, if you don’t already wear corrective lenses, this may be a sign that it is time to do so.
Research shows that the symptoms of CVS could be reducing your productivity level at work without you even realizing it. CVS is quickly becoming a major public health issue because of the increased use of electronic devices with visual displays. Improving the visual status of workers using computers results in greater productivity in the workplace.
Obviously, if you’re having difficulties seeing, your work is going to suffer. But in addition to that, the CVS symptoms you will experience if your vision is not being corrected properly will be more severe than that of someone who has either perfect vision or wears glasses or contacts with sufficient prescriptions.
So, if you are experiencing CVS symptoms, you should have your eyes examined by your eye doctor. They will be able to determine if there are any problems that need to be corrected. You can also strengthen your eyes by taking eye-healthy vitamin supplements. These can help to reduce the CVS symptoms and will make your eyes stronger and healthier in general.