Technological advances create incredible new solutions…but present new difficulties as well. Modern-day computing, and the Internet, allows us to handle much more information and wield more tools than ever before.
All this productivity often means that we spend a lot of time staring at screens: our work computers, our home laptops, and our smartphones. And all this time staring at screens isn’t good for us.
Getting “computer eyes”
The family of vision and eye problems that arise from computer overuse is described as Computer Vision Syndrome (or CVS). Looking at a computer screen is different from reading printed pages, and often makes our eyes work harder.
Glare and reflections, low contrast and poor definition make text difficult to read. The way we interact with computer monitors on our desks and with digital “pages” differs from how we read and write on paper. All of this extra load can cause or worsen eye problems.
Computer vision eye problems
The vision and eye problems that arise from or worsen with computer use include:
- Blurred vision
- Dry and irritated eyes
- Eye strain
When you talk to your optometrist about these symptoms, you can expect her to use a comprehensive exam to explore for clarity, focus, alignment, and movement issues.
Computer vision treatment
The various eye and vision problems in Computer Vision Syndrome are treated by alleviating the stresses that build up with prolonged computer use. But treatment and prevention can help protect and improve your eyesight.
To help treat and prevent Computer Vision Syndrome:
Find your sweet spot - Our eyes naturally look out and downward. To accommodate this, position your computer monitor so the centre of your screen is a few inches below eye level, and 20 to 28 inches from your eyes.
Adjust your lighting - Give yourself ample lighting, but position your computer screen and your light sources to avoid glare.
Use anti-glare screens - An anti-glare filter that fits over your screen can help reduce glare when you have little or no control over your surrounding light sources.
Take breaks and blink frequently - To prevent eye strain, rest your eyes for 15 minutes every two hours, and allow your eyes to refocus by looking around the room every 20 minutes. Blinking keeps your eyes moist and lowers your chances for dry eyes.
Remember, your eyes work hard for you, so give yourself the rest and support your need for productive, healthy eyes. When in doubt, ask to chat with your optometrist.