Prevent Computer Vision Syndrome

Work-from-home “virtual” employees must take precautions in order to preserve the health of their eyes.

Computer vision syndrome (CVS) isn’t a specific set of symptoms — it’s an umbrella term to describe the varying eye discomfort and symptoms caused by screen-related issues. It is almost impossible to avoid progressive vision issues with regular computer use. Adding some basic tools to your home office is vital to help maintain your ability to work via a screen on a regular basis.

Middle-aged businessman working at nightStudies have estimated that between 70 to 90 percent of workers worldwide who use computers regularly experience symptoms related to CVS. CVS, also known as digital eye strain, can occur from extensive use of any device with a digital screen. Symptoms include dry eyes, blurred vision, headaches, and neck and shoulder pain. Any combination of the following factors can lead to CVS: uncorrected refractive errors (nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism), poor lighting, screen glare, and poor workstation setup for posture and viewing.

Some experts believe daily computer use may be a contributing factor to the rise in nearsightedness and dry eye disease.

The first step in protecting yourself from CVS is to correct any refractive error by visiting your eye care professional. Having the proper glasses, contact lenses or surgery to correct these issues will decrease any added strain on your eyes.

Next, make sure to properly arrange your workstation by:

• Positioning your monitor between 20 and 28 inches away from your eyes.
• Adjusting your chair to allow you to view the screen’s center just below eye level at 15 to 20 degree downward angle.
• Changing screen contrast and brightness to a level comparable to the surrounding light.
• Using screen covers, lower lighting and curtains or blinds to reduce glare.

Also, take regular breaks and blink frequently to rehydrate your eyes; every 20 minutes, focus on an object at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds (the 20/20/20 rule); and try over-the-counter lubricating eye drops.

If CVS symptoms become chronic, speak with your eye care professional about computer glasses or treatment for dry eyes.

Steven Rhee, DO, Medical Director and Cornea Specialist
Wahiawa 808-621-8448 | Waipahu 808-678-0622


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