Digital Eye Strain is a Growing Condition in Society
As technology continues to progress and improve, our reliability on computers to complete tasks at work and in school has also increased. While the screens we use in the forms of computers, tablets, and smartphones present us with many wonderful benefits, they have also led to unfortunate downsides. One of these downsides is computer vision syndrome (CVS), or digital eye strain.
CVS has continued to become a prevalent issue for many computer users. In fact, research has found that more than 50% of users have experienced one or more symptoms of CVS. Adults who work primarily in front of computers aren’t the only ones affected by this. Children who use computers and tablets in school also deal with digital eye strain. To combat this condition, you must understand exactly why it happens and its effects on your eyes.
What Causes Computer Vision Syndrome?
There are a handful of factors that can eventually lead to CVS. Your eyes and body are required to work harder while viewing something on a screen, causing increased strain and stress. This condition is very similar to carpal tunnel syndrome and other injuries or conditions that require repetitive motion. Your eyes follow the same movement over and over, and it only worsens the longer you do it.
Reading a computer screen is much different than viewing a print page. The content on the screen is not nearly as defined or precise as on a page, often containing high levels of contrast between the letters and the background. Screens also have glare and reflections that make viewing the content much harder.
Your eyes constantly have to focus and refocus, moving from one page to another. Other causes include:
- Lighting in the room
- Distance from the screen
- Seating position
- Head angle
- Existing vision problems
Diagnosing computer vision syndrome is relatively straightforward. Your eye care professionals at First Eye Care North Arlington can easily help you understand your condition and symptoms through a comprehensive eye exam. It is important to seek treatment from your eye care professional if you recognize one or more of these symptoms:
- Blurred vision
- Double vision
- Red or dry eyes
- Irritated eyes
- Chronic headaches
- Neck, shoulder, or back pain
If you recognize these symptoms, schedule an appointment with your eye care professional to seek diagnoses and treatment.
Treating Computer Vision Syndrome
Treating CVS is less about medication and more about changing how you work with screens. While there is no proof that this condition has any long-term effects, it is still best to take the steps to ensure that you protect your eyes. Here are some tips to treat and prevent your symptoms:
- Adjust Lighting: If possible, rearrange any lighting in your workspace or even your computer to minimize the amount of glare on your screen. Utilize natural light whenever possible. Also, invest in an anti-glare screen for your monitor.
- Rearrange Your Workspace: The angle at which you view your screen can greatly impact the level of eyestrain you experience. Your monitor should be roughly 20-28 inches from your face at about 15-20 degrees lower than your eyes. Try to place any reference materials in a spot that requires the least head movement.
- Adjust Computer Settings: Many people leave their computer settings the way they are when they get them. Sometimes this can lead to CVS symptoms. Adjust the brightness, contrast, and other properties that are most comfortable for you.
- Take a Break: To avoid putting too much strain on your eyes, follow the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes look 20 feet away from your screen for 20 seconds. Blink often to keep your eyes moist.
Computer vision syndrome is a relatively new eye condition due to the rise of screens in our society. While it is not a serious threat to the health of your eyes, it can be debilitating and affect your work. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, contact the eye care professionals at First Eye Care North Arlington to receive an eye exam to properly diagnose you.