If you see patients complaining about difficulty with their vision when at a computer, the following handout may help. Feel free to print this out with your practice logo and give it to your patients who complain of computer related vision difficulties.
Almost everyone these days is using a computer for work or play. We spend a lot of time staring at computer screens and this leads to several vision related problems. Computer vision syndrome (CVS) is a very common problem detected among people working on computers. This happens due to prolonged computer usage which may stress your eyes and result in impaired vision. When you spend a long time looking at a computer screen, the muscles in your eyes, neck and shoulders can be become fatigued, causing pain and discomfort. Here is what you need to know to tell your patients…
Factors & causes that can contribute to CVS include:
1. Poor posture
2. Poor lighting
3. Uncorrected vision problems
4. Glare on the computer screen
5. Improper distance from the monitor
6. Flicker in CRT monitors.
7. Eyes becoming dry
8. A need for a new glasses prescription
The most common symptoms of CVS include blurred vision, vision that seems to fluctuate, and squinting. Other indicators of CVS include dry eyes, headaches, and pain in the neck and shoulders. If left untreated, most of these symptoms will not improve on their own and may even get worse.
7 Tips For Computer Eye Strain Relief
Here are several things to help ease, or prevent symptoms of CVS.
1. Adjust lighting
Room lighting should be about the same or slightly dimmer than your computer screen.
Working in an overhead-lit room with fluorescent lighting will only aggravate the symptoms. If possible, reduce the brightness of overhead lighting.
2. Computer ergonomics
Position your computer screen so it is or slightly below your eye level, 10 degrees below your line of sight is ideal. Position the screen so that it does not reflect overhead light or outside screen. Also position the monitor close enough so you can read the text without having to learn forward.
Try to blink more often while working on your computer in order to avoid them getting dry. Dry eyes is the most common cause for blur or fluctuating vision on a computer. It is not always easy to remember to blink, so artificial tears used prior to computer use then hourly while at the computer can help.
4. Replace your monitor
If you’re using an old CRT monitor, then it’s time to replace it with a new LCD monitor to help avoid eyestrain. CRT monitors give off a lot of glare which is not good for your eyes.
5. Eye exam
Get a complete eye exam by a trained professional. Your doctor may prescribe a pair of computer glasses that are specially designed to prevent computer vision syndrome.
6. Rest your eyes occasionally
To reduce ‘focus fatigue’ try these simple resting techniques to help reduce spasms of the muscles around the eyes.
20-20-20: look away from the computer every 20 minutes at something about 20 feet away for about 20 seconds.
10-10: alternate looking at something distant, and something close for 10 seconds each. Repeat 10 times. Blink frequently during the exercise to lubricate your eyes.
Drink enough water. Eye tissues are predominantly water. If you become dehydrated so do your eyes.
Apart from the above recommendations, you can also minimize the symptoms of computer vision syndrome by giving your eyes a break from your computer at regular intervals. For example, you can use weekends as computer rest time when you greatly reduce your computer viewing time.
Read previous blog post here.