If you work in front of a computer all day, or spend a lot of time watching tv and playing video games, you might have noticed your eyesight getting a bit blurry. This is due to a condition known as Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS), a group of eye and vision-related issues that are the result of too much screen time. The good news is CVS is not permanent and there are many things you can do to help prevent it.
What causes the blurriness?
You don’t have to be very old to remember a time before computers dominated our lives. In 2011, 75.6 percent of household reported having a computer compared with only 8.2 percent in 1984 (US Census Bureau). Human beings were not designed to sit in one place staring at a screen. Computers put excess strain on the visual system. The lack of definition of the letters on the screen, the reduced level of contrast, and the reflections on the glass all make viewing more difficult. Poor posture, bad lighting, viewing distance, and screen resolution also worsen symptoms.
How do I know if I have CVS?
There are many related symptoms to look for if you suspect you have Computer Vision Syndrome:
- Blurred near and distance vision
- Dry or Irritated eyes
- Neck and/or Backaches
- Diplopia (Double Vision)
An eye doctor can establish a diagnosis with a series of tests with an emphasis on computer view distance requirements. He or she will also be able to determine if you have a minor uncorrected vision problem which can become more pronounced when looking at a computer screen and can put you at even greater risk of Computer Vision Syndrome.
What can I do about CVS?
There’s always avoiding computers and TV screens completely, but that’s pretty unrealistic in today’s world. So, here’s a few computer use habits to adopt that can really help alleviate symptoms:
- Put the screen 20-28 away, 4-5 in below eye level
- sit straight up with your feet touching the floor
- Rest your eyes for 15 min every 2 hours
- The 20-20-20 rule: look at an object 20 ft away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes