5 Ways to Beat Computer Vision Syndrome
In a world where everyone has a digital device, whether it is a phone, tablet, or computer, there has been an increase in the amount of vision problems associated with “screens.” Computer Vision Syndrome, also known as digital eye strain, is the medical term for the symptoms caused by electronic devices. The most common symptoms are eye fatigue (“tired eyes”), headaches, fluctuating or blurred vision, and dry eyes. Symptoms are typically worse while actively on a device, however, they may persist even after stopping.
According to The Vision Council, 80% of American adults report using digital devices for more than 2 hours per day, and 59% report symptoms of digital eye strain. Schools are introducing children to tablets and computers for a majority of classwork, whereas paper-printed books are going by the wayside. Since many people have essentially been forced into computer use for employment, here are five ways to beat computer vision syndrome.
1. Follow the 20-20-20 Rule
For every 20 minutes on a device, look at least 20 feet away, for 20 seconds. By looking in the distance, the eye muscles relax and the blink rate increases. Normal blink rate is 15 to 20 times per minute, but people blink less than half that amount while staring at a digital device. (I’m noticing it right now as I type this post!) Making a conscious effort to blink and take small breaks can improve visual stamina over the course of the workday.
2. Wear Proper Eyewear
People with astigmatism, farsightedness, or presbyopia (need for reading glasses) should be wearing the appropriate glasses for the computer and near work. There are some instances that may require having a separate pair of glasses for the computer if vision is not adequate or other symptoms occur. There are also contact lenses that are beneficial for computer-use. One of the most important components of a quality pair of glasses is anti-reflective (or anti-glare) treatment. This helps block excess glare from digital screens that contributes to computer vision syndrome.
3. Improve Workstation Ergonomics
Ergonomics is the study of one’s efficiency in the workplace. Most people sit at the same desk every day and can personalize the desk space to best suit individual needs. A very important aspect of ergonomics is the position of the computer screen. Reading efficiency and comfort is best achieved when looking downward. Therefore, the computer screen should be at least 15 to 20 degrees below eye level. This is especially imperative for people wearing progressive (no-line bifocal) glasses to ensure the correct part of the lenses is being utilized.
4. Adjust Computer Settings
Print on a computer screen is less precise and usually has less background contrast versus its paper counterpart. The display settings on the computer screen should be adjusted based on the surrounding environment, so the brightness matches the room lighting. If the computer screen looks like it is projecting light into the room, then the brightness is too high. If the screen is dull and dim, then the brightness might be too dark. Additionally, make sure the font size is reasonable for the task at hand. Enlarge the text as necessary.
5. Get an Eye Exam
Undiagnosed vision problems may be contributing to negative symptoms while using digital devices. A comprehensive eye exam will address the possible need for glasses and any ocular health problems. Rather than suffering every day in front of the computer or tablet, visit Weber Vision Care so we can help determine the best solution to alleviate the symptoms from computer vision syndrome.