Computer vision syndrome, also referred to as digital eye strain, describes a group of eye- and vision-related problems that result from prolonged computer, tablet, e-reader and cell phone use.
According to the American Optometric Association, Prevention or reduction of the vision problems associated with CVS or digital eyestrain involves taking steps to control lighting and glare on the device screen, establishing proper working distances and posture for screen viewing and assuring that even minor vision problems are properly corrected.
Suggestions for computer vision syndrome sufferers
• Don’t take a vision problem to work. Even if glasses are not needed for driving, reading or other activities, they still may offer benefits for a minor vision problem that is aggravated by computer use. A mild glasses prescription may be needed to reduce vision stress on the job. It’s a good idea for computer users to get a thorough eye exam every year.
• Glasses should meet the demand of the job. If glasses are worn for distant vision, reading or both, they may not provide the most efficient vision for viewing a computer screen, which is about 20 to 30 inches from the eyes. Tell the doctor about job tasks and measure on-the-job sight distances. Accurate information will help get the best vision improvement. Patients may benefit from one of the new lens designs made specifically for computer work.
• Minimize discomfort from blue light and glare. Blue light from LED and fluorescent lighting, as well as monitors, tablets and mobile devices, can negatively affect vision over the long term. Special lens tints and coatings can reduce the harmful impact of blue light. Minimize glare on the computer screen by using a glare reduction filter, repositioning the screen or using drapes, shades or blinds. Also, keeping screens clean; dirt-free and removing fingerprints can decrease glare and improve clarity.
• Adjust work area and computer for comfort. When using computers, most people prefer a work surface height of about 26 inches. Desks and tables are usually 29 inches high. Place the computer screen 16 to 30 inches away. The top of the screen should be slightly below horizontal eye level. Tilt the top of the screen away at a 10- to 20-degree angle.
• Use an adjustable copyholder. Place reference material at the same distance from eyes as the computer screen and as close to the screen as possible. That way the eyes won’t have to change focus when looking from one to the other.
• Take alternative task breaks throughout the day. Make phone calls or photocopies. Consult with co-workers. After working on the computer for an extended period, do anything in which the eyes don’t have to focus on something up close.
Ms. Jenn Landers | Patient Advocate Alliance LLC Edited by Dr. Justin Groode