It's very likely that have experienced yourself... sitting in front of a computer... your eyes are tired and sore... frequent headaches... your eye feel dry. It may all be linked to what is referred to as Computer Vision Syndrome.
In today's world, it's hard to not have to be staring at a computer for long hours. But it this activity doesn't have to take such a toll on your eyes. You're about to learn 5 simple things you can do to reduce the negative effects of computers on your eyesight.
What Is Computer Vision Syndrome Anyway?
Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) is essentially a term used to describe the group of eye and vision problems related to near work that are experienced during, or related to, computer use.
Some eye health authorities estimate that as much as 75% of people who work on computers are affected in some way by CVS. If you experience any of the following, it may be affecting you as well:
- tired, sore or burning eyes
- periodic blurred near and distance vision
- dry eyes
- slowness in changing the focus of your eyes
- contact lens discomfort
- glare sensitivity
- excessive tearing
5 simple things that you can do to reduce the effects of Computer Vision Syndrome
1. Make Sure Your Workstation Is Set Up Ergonomically
Repositioning your monitor is an easy and effective way to avoid awkward head or eye movements. Because the eyes lead the body, your body will assume whatever position is required to enable your eyes to see comfortably. A poorly located computer screen causes awkward body positions. A viewing distance of 20-28 inches is most common.
The center of the computer screen should be 4-9 inches below your eyes, because your eyes work best with a slight downward gaze.
Your computer screen and other work (and your phone, if that's part of your office) should be located straight in front of you so that you don't have to look sideways or twist your body or neck to see them.
2. Eliminate Glare In Your Area
Glare is a common cause of eyestrain and eye fatigue. Modifying your office lighting will eliminate glare and harsh reflections. First, find the source of the glare: Is it coming from a window, task light, or the screen itself?
If possible, remove the offending source of light. Adjust blinds or curtains to minimize sunlight. Turn down overhead lights so that the brightness of the screen and the surrounding room are balanced. Do not, however, work in the dark: the contrast between computer-generated light and lack of background light strains the eyes.
3. Adjust The Brightness/Contrast of Your Screen
"Optimal contrast and visibility are attained with black characters on a white background. However, other combinations can be comfortable so long as the brightness contrast between the characters and the background is high. It is best to avoid dark backgrounds."
You can also adjust your brightness/contrast controls, and use a larger text size, as display legibility is an important factor in visual performance. For most, the size of the text should be three times the size of the smallest text you can read.
An article on "Flat-Panel Monitors Versus CRTs" in the magazine PC World says that "flat panel (LCD) displays have visual advantages compared to cathode ray tube (CRT) displays. They do not flicker and the contrast is typically higher." And because CRTs deteriorate gradually over time, you may not even realize that the picture you are looking at today is not the same one you were looking at five years ago when you bought the monitor-although this deterioration may be causing your CVS symptoms. Consider an upgrade.
4. Take A Break!
It's easy to lose track of time at the computer. Always remember the 10-10-10 rule and at the very minimum take a break at least once an hour for about 10 minutes and blink frequently. The "10-10-10 rule" states that every time you are performing close vision work for over 10 consecutive minutes, look up and focus on anything that is at least 10 feet away, for at least 10 seconds.
5. Stay Healthy
Although you can relieve dry, itchy eyes with artificial tears from the drugstore, it's best not to rely on them. A better way to prevent dryness is to stay hydrated with good old-fashioned water.
Of course, eating your beta-carotine-rich foods is always good for maintaining eye health, and a Japanese study suggests that supplementation with the amino acid taurine appears to alleviate vision fatigue. Contact lens wearers may want to switch to glasses during PC work, as contact lenses themselves can cause dry eyes.