How To Treat Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS)
What Is Computer Vision Syndrome?
Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS), sometimes referred to as digital eye strain, is a condition that can occur when using computers and other devices with digital screens for prolonged periods of time. This can result in blurred vision or eye irritation, which are symptoms of CVS.
Even if an individual uses a screen for just two hours every day, they can experience this condition. In fact, between 50 percent and 90 percent of individuals whose work involves computers, experience symptoms of digital eye strain. This form of eye strain is due to the bright light (or blue light) of the screen and because your eyes need to constantly focus and refocus as you read things on the monitor.
What Are The Symptoms And Effects Of CVS?
Computer Vision Syndrome can have many symptoms, and sufferers may not experience all of them at once. The most common would be changes to your vision that include:
- Blurred or double vision
- Eye irritation
- Red or dry eyes
- Neck or back pain
The type of symptoms experienced will depend on each individual, particularly in case of any pre-existing eye condition they may have, the amount of time they spend at their computer and whether they have any un-diagnosed problems with their vision.
For instance, some people with farsightedness (seeing things in the distance more clearly than close objects) or astigmatism (a common vision condition that causes blurred vision.) may not be wearing the correct (if any) glasses or lenses for close-up work, and therefore might be unintentionally increasing their odds of developing CVS. The symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome can also become more apparent as you age - and your ability to focus on nearby objects starts to deteriorate. This is called presbyopia.
Fortunately, most of these symptoms are only temporary and once the individual spends adequate time away from the computer, they will stop. For some people, however, symptoms can continue even after they’ve stepped away from the screen: vision can remain blurred and headaches can persist. If this is the case, the individual should take steps towards reducing digital eye strain as much as they can.
How Can You Cure CVS?
There are several things you can do to reduce the effects of CVS on your eyes and your body, with most of them being simple enough to implement immediately.
Posture is important when sitting at a computer for long periods of time. In order to avoid straining your eyes and neck, your monitor should ideally be situated slightly below eye level and between 20-28 inches from your face. Consider purchasing a standing document-holder so that your papers are on a similar level to your monitor.
You want your workstation to be well lit, but not overly bright. Natural light is preferable as long as you make sure you’re not getting any glare on your screen from a nearby window, as this can make you squint, causing strain on your eyes. A desk lamp can be a good source of light as you can point the beam in the exact direction you want. In terms of your computer, using an anti-glare filter (a clear panel that is physically placed over your monitor) can help cut down on the amount of glare you get from your screen.
Another thing you can do is to make sure you give your eyes little breaks throughout the day. As a general rule, think 20-20-20: look away from the screen every 20 minutes, focusing on something approximately 20 feet away for about 20 seconds. This allows your eyes to rest and readjust. You can also use eye drops or an eye spray to help revive your eyes when they get dry.
Finally, computer glasses can be a great way to reduce glare and avoid digital eye strain. Glasses such as Eyezen feature specialized lenses, which can actually help filter out blue-violet light*, so you can continue to look at the screen with minimum glare entering your eyes.
If none of these things help and you continue to suffer from Computer Vision Syndrome, visit your optician. You may have an undiagnosed eye condition that needs addressing or perhaps needs a different prescription for your glasses or contact lenses.
*Blue-violet light is between 400 and 455nm as stated by ISO TR 20772:2018
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