If you are reading this article, chances are that you are staring at your computer or mobile screen. That’s not really a biggie as most of our jobs require us to stare at a screen for never ending hours. The biggie here is that most of us don’t really know (trust me, even I didn’t know about it until recently) that staring at a screen for more than three hours on a regular basis can lead to something known as ‘Computer Vision Syndrome.’ Yes! You heard it. Computer. Vision. Syndrome.
Now that you have started to wonder what Computer Vision Syndrome is, let me break down for you.
Let’s start with the basics:
What is Computer Vision Syndrome?
Computer vision syndrome (CVS) is a condition resulting from focusing the eyes on a computer or other display device for protracted, uninterrupted periods of time. Computer Vision Syndrome isn’t one specific problem. All eye problems that stem out from exposure to a computer/laptop screen fall under Computer Vision Syndrome.
How common is the Computer Vision Syndrome?
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, computer vision syndrome affects about 90% of the people who spend three hours or more a day at a computer.
What causes Computer Vision Syndrome?
Computer Vision Syndrome occurs when the visual demands overpower the visual capabilities of the individual. When you work for long hours at a computer, your eyes have focus and refocus on the screen multiple times. The vision and focus area changes again and again due to the up and down movement of the eye (staring at the keys and then back at the screen or copying content from a paper). In this process, your eye muscles are vigorously exercised and the brightness, contrast, glare and flicker of the screen only make things worse. Incorrect vision power can also lead to CVS. Tilting in a certain direction or leaning forward or backward to get a clear vision of the computer screen lead to neck and back pain.
What are the symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome?
Some of the symptoms of CVS are as follows:
Back or Neck pain.
How can Computer Vision Syndrome be treated?
Eliminate the glare: Position your computer system/ laptop in a space where external light does not cast any glare. Adjusting the lighting of the room can also reduce the effect of glare on the computer screen.
Rest your eyes: A good thing to do here is to follow the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 mins, focus the eyes on an object 20 feet (6 meters) away for 20 seconds. If you feel like this is too much work (which means you are just lazy) just close your eyes for 20 seconds, every 20 minutes. Also, keep blinking to avoid dry eyes.
Use specially designed eyewear: Get yourself specially designed eyeglasses/ contact lenses to maximize your visual abilities and minimize the symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome.
Modify your computer screen settings: Though we are bashing the computer screen in this article, you have to give it some credit for its customizable screen settings. You can adjust the brightness, contrast, font size, page layout based on your preferences.
Adjust your seat: Adjust your seat up to the right height. Ensure that the screen is perfectly aligned with your line of vision and that you don’t need to move your neck back and forth/up and down in order to get a comfortable view of the screen.
It seems like Computer Vision Syndrome is something to watch out for!
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