We have all heard before about the negative effects electronic screens can have on ocular health. Studies show that too much time spent starring at computers or mobile devices can lead to dry eyes, back and neck pain, blurred vision, difficulty focusing, and headaches. These symptoms are directly related to a condition known as computer vision syndrome. Computer vision syndrome is said to affect 1 out of every 6 eye exam patients. If most patients were asked – they would not even know that computer vision syndrome is even a diagnosed condition!
As mobile devices become more and more prevalent in our daily lives and new generations begin to grow up on iPads, computer vision syndrome is likely to become even more common in the future. If you work long days on a computer or if you’re a parent with children addicted to Angry Birds or Minecraft, you will find some of this helpful information. Below is a list of reccomendations and treatments for Computer Vision Syndrome by the American Optometric Association:
Viewing the Computer
Proper body positioning for computer use.Some important factors in preventing or reducing the symptoms of CVS have to do with the computer and how it is used. This includes lighting conditions, chair comfort, location of reference materials, position of the monitor, and the use of rest breaks.
- Location of computer screen – Most people find it more comfortable to view a computer when the eyes are looking downward. Optimally, the computer screen should be 15 to 20 degrees below eye level (about 4 or 5 inches) as measured from the center of the screen and 20 to 28 inches from the eyes.
- Reference materials – These materials should be located above the keyboard and below the monitor. If this is not possible, a document holder can be used beside the monitor. The goal is to position the documents so you do not need to move your head to look from the document to the screen.
- Lighting – Position the computer screen to avoid glare, particularly from overhead lighting or windows. Use blinds or drapes on windows and replace the light bulbs in desk lamps with bulbs of lower wattage.
- Anti-glare screens – If there is no way to minimize glare from light sources, consider using a screen glare filter. These filters decrease the amount of light reflected from the screen.
- Seating position – Chairs should be comfortably padded and conform to the body. Chair height should be adjusted so your feet rest flat on the floor. If your chair has arms, they should be adjusted to provide arm support while you are typing. Your wrists shouldn’t rest on the keyboard when typing.
- Rest breaks – To prevent eyestrain, try to rest your eyes when using the computer for long periods. Rest your eyes for 15 minutes after two hours of continuous computer use. Also, for every 20 minutes of computer viewing, look into the distance for 20 seconds to allow your eyes a chance to refocus.
- Blinking – To minimize your chances of developing dry eye when using a computer, make an effort to blink frequently. Blinking keeps the front surface of your eye moist.
Regular eye examinations and proper viewing habits can help to prevent or reduce the development of the symptoms associated with Computer Vision Syndrome.
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