Computer Vision Syndrome

Technology is becoming more readily available; our dependence is growing, and we seem to be permanently connected. Today, more jobs are requiring 8 hours of screen time every day whether that is through a computer, phone, or tablet. With the increased screen time becoming more common, there are also many more job-related complaints of computer eyestrain. These complaints can range from physical fatigue, decreased productivity and increased errors, to minor irritations like red eyes or constant twitching.

Below are a few quick and easy steps you can take to reduce your risk of screen related eyestrain:

Schedule a Comprehensive Eye Exam

If you are constantly working with technology, having a routine comprehensive eye exam is the best thing you can do to help prevent or treat existing computer vision problems. At Vision Associates, our doctors will ask you how often you are in front of a screen and thoroughly examine your eyes for any underlying issues.

Typical symptoms we see for eyestrain include:
•   Frequent headaches
•   Blurry vision
•   Chronic Dry eyes
•   Neck, back or shoulder pain
•   Worsening of existing eye disorders such as farsightedness, astigmatism or presbyopia

Improve Lighting
Excessively bright light coming through a window or harsh interior light often causes worker eyestrain. The light surrounding your work area should be half as bright as the area you are working in. By closing blinds, repositioning your computer, or turning off lamps, you can reduce the surrounding lighting. If you can’t reposition your work area, we recommend turning off overhead fluorescent lights and use floor or desk lamps instead.

Adjust Display Settings
Whether you are utilizing a computer, smartphone, or tablet, you have the ability to control the display by adjusting the settings. This can help reduce eyestrain and fatigue.

We recommend adjusting the following display settings:

  • Brightness
    Make sure the brightness of your display matches the lighting of the surrounding workstation. To help determine whether or not the display is too bright – look at a white page on your screen, if it looks like a light source, it is simply too bright.
  • Text Size
    Are you squinting to read your screen? Your text size may be a little too small. By adjusting the font size on your computer, you can increase eye comfort. Also, we recommend black print on a white background, vice versa, or other dark-on-light combinations to help prevent eye strain.

Blink More
When sitting behind a screen, workers tend to blink less frequently due to focusing on what they are working on. In fact, many blinks performed when working behind a screen are only partial blinks. Since blinking prevents dryness and irritation by moistening your eyes, only partial blinks can reduce moisture and lead to eye strain.  In addition, the air in many office environments is dry, which can increase how quickly your tears evaporate, placing you at greater risk for dry eye problems.

To reduce your risk of chronic dry eyes, contact Vision Associates to learn more about artificial tears or eye drops for use during the day. When in doubt, you can schedule a full eye exam. Our doctors will thoroughly examine your eyes to determine if the dryness is caused by excessive screen time, an underlying disease, or another abnormality. Once the cause is identified, a remedy will be prescribed.

Computer Eyewear
If you wear eyeglasses and eye strain is becoming an irritating issue, you might want to consider specific eyewear for use at work. Our professionals at Vision Associates could modify your eyeglass prescription to create customized computer glasses. If you typically wear contact lenses, this could definitely help reduce dryness and irritation. Also, if you wear bifocals or progressive lenses, this is also a great choice, since they are not generally optimal for the distance of your computer screen. In this case, you may need to consider photochromic lenses or lightly tinted lenses to reduce your exposure to harmful blue light.

If you are experiencing eye strain and nothing seems to be helping, you are not alone. To schedule a comprehensive eye exam, contact Vision Associates at 419-578-2020.

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