What Causes Computer Vision Syndrome?
There are many factors that can contribute to the strain of your patients’ eyes. These include: lighting in the room, distance from the screen, glare on the screen, seating posture, and the angle of the head. Blue light emitted from screens also plays a large role. Blue light can prematurely age the eyes as it passes through the cornea to the retina. There are a number of actions your patients can take to prevent or reduce the symptoms of CVS.
Rearrange the Work Environment
Advise your patients to position their computer monitor slightly below eye level and adjust the chair height so that their feet rest flat on the floor. Wrists should not rest on the keyboard while typing. A document holder can be attached to the monitor to prevent the head from moving back and forth between document and screen.
What Is Computer Vision Syndrome?
Computer vision syndrome is a group of eye and vision-related problems that result from long-term screen use. Eye discomfort and vision problems can occur when viewing screens for an extended period time. Common symptoms associated with CVS include: eye strain, headaches, blurred vision, dry eyes, and neck and shoulder pain.
Follow the 20-20-20 Rule
The 20-20-20 rule is a useful exercise that’s easy to do. Instruct your patients to look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes. Not only does this exercise reduce eye strain, but it also provides a moment of rest. In addition, advise that they stand up and go for a quick walk. Doing so will further reduce eye strain.
Lubricate Your Eyes
When people stare at screens they tend not blink for long periods of time. Blinking helps lubricate the eye by moving tears across the cornea and squeezing the meibomian glands to squirt oil across the surface. Lubricating eye drops can also be applied to moisten the eyes.
Change the Lighting
Position the screen to avoid glare from overhead lights or windows. Blinds or curtains on windows can be closed to shut out light from the outside. If there is no way to minimize outside light, screen filters can be attached that reduce the amount of light emitted. The settings on the digital device can also be adjusted to the users’ preference.
In the digital age, it’s common to be glued to a computer, TV screen, or smartphone. Although this behavior may be mainstream in today’s society, too much exposure to blue light emitted from these devices can lead to eye strain and computer vision syndrome (CVS). Various techniques can be implemented to help reduce strain and maintain proper eye care.
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- Blue light and your eyes. Prevent Blindness. Accessed December 6, 2018.
- The 20-20-20 rule. Canadian Association of Optometrists. Accessed December 6, 2018.