How to Avoid Computer Vision Syndrome
Also known as Digital Eye Strain, Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) involves a series of symptoms caused by prolonged screen use. Cell phones, computer screens, tablets, even e-readers can cause these problems. Some of these symptoms are eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision, dry eyes, or neck and shoulder pain.
Overuse of computer screens causes eye problems because digital screens require the eye to work harder to process information. The high visual demand of the average computer screen is already high as screens are cluttered with different colors, designs, and moving parts the eye has to process, but reading on a computer screen is much more difficult than reading a printed page. The lighting, contrast, glare, and sharpness of letters on a computer screen require the eye to focus and move in different ways than they have to when reading print. Also, the angle at which we are often reading things on a screen is different from the angles we’ve developed for reading printed media.
There are many ways to avoid developing CVS. These include:
- 20-20-20 Rule: after every 20 minutes of screen use, spend 20 seconds focusing on something 20 feet away from you (and ideally not another screen)
- Positioning: the best position for your monitor to be in during use is about two feet from you and slightly below your eyeline so you have to angle your eyes downwards. Also, try to position your monitor in a spot where it won’t have lots of glare from windows or lights.
- Computer glasses: to treat CVS, many doctors prescribe a pair of glasses just for computer use.
- Blink: this will naturally help soothe your eyes are help reduce some of the symptoms related to CVS
A 2016 study found that Americans spend over 10 hours a day on average staring at a computer screen. So give your eyes a break when they need it, put down the phone, walk away from the monitor, and end that full-series binge session - your eyes will thank you.