What’s Computer vision syndrome (CVS)?
Computer vision syndrome (CVS) is a temporary condition resulting from focusing the eyes on a computer display for protracted, uninterrupted periods of time. Some symptoms of CVS include headaches, blurred vision, neck pain, redness in the eyes, fatigue, eye strain, dry eyes, irritated eyes, double vision, polyopia, and difficulty refocusing the eyes. These symptoms can be further aggravated by improper lighting conditions (i.e. glare or bright overhead lighting) or air moving past the eyes (e.g. overhead vents, direct air from a fan).
Causes of Computer Vision Syndrome
Low Contrast: This is not a new concept for most people. The pixilated nature of the objects on a computer screen engenders low contrast. This is especially true of text on computer screen. Studying objects of low contrast causes eye strain, which can lead to CVS.
Prolonged Use: Most people work 8-9 hour days. Even if you take a 1 hour lunch break, this still leaves 3.5-4 hour periods during which you are staring at a computer screen. Extended viewing of a computer screen (over 2 hours), especially at a constant depth of field, is the primary cause of CVS.
Reduced Eye Movement: During activities in which they are not focused on a computer screen, the average person blinks about 16 times per minute. While looking at a computer screen however, this drops to 6 times per minute. In addition, they eye moves through a lesser range of motion when concentrating on a screen. This reduction in eye movement serves to dehydrate the eye, which can, among other things, lead to CVS.
Backlit Screens: Computer screens are -backlit-, meaning the light that illuminates the screen shines directly into your eyes. Most every other source of light we incur is first reflected off an object, entering our eyes at a lower amplitude. Staring at direct sources of light is hazardous, and can lead to CVS.
Prevention of Computer Vision Syndrome
For as serious as some of the effects of CVS can be, prevention of the condition is surprisingly easy. If you work in front of a computer screen on a daily basis, take these simple steps to avoid CVS and other eye-related problems.
Take a Break: Staring at a screen for an extended period of time is the leading cause of CVS. If you must work an entire day in front of the computer, make sure you take at least a 5 minute break every hour, and allow your eyes to relax. Looking out the window works great here.
Increase the Contrast: Modern computers have display adjustments either on the screen, in the -control panel- of the operating system, or both. Using these controls to increase the contrast of your computer monitor can make looking at the screen much easier on your eyes.
Blink: Making a conscious effort to blink more often while working at the computer will build a healthy habit sure to make your workday more comfortable. As you begin this exercise, use eye drops to help keep your eyes hydrated.
Put on eyewear: Glasses for computer can well block blue light and radiation from computer. Currently on the market, e-healthmate professional computer eyewear are nice choice for CVS.