Computer Eye Syndrome
Do you spend most of the day staring at your computer and your tablet or your smartphone lulls you to sleep at night? Have you ever thought what this digital screen time does to your eyes? Staring at backlit screens like LED and LCD's for extended periods of time daily can cause a screen-induced discomfort called Computer eye syndrome. As our enthusiasm for digital devices grows our eyes are paying the price! To protect yourself from digital eye strain it is important to be aware of some facts.
- The strain on our peepers arise from constantly shifting focus from the keyboard onto the screen in a quick and repetitive motion, which makes our eyes work harder to regain focus. This can lead to difficulty in focusing, eye discomfort, headaches, blurred vision, dry eyes, fatigue along with neck or shoulder pain. All these symptoms come under the term computer vision syndrome or digital eye strain.
- Computer vision syndrome affects people who spend more than 2 hours daily in front of computer.
- Computer vision syndrome occurs not only in adults but also in children. Generally, children use computers for learning and playing video games. Prolonged computer usage can stress your child's eyes and cause computer vision syndrome.
- Our eyes can’t handle extended computer screen viewing all that well. Your eyes are happier reading printed material and happiest when used for a variety of tasks.
- Our eyes weren't designed to stare at flat, two-dimensional screens for hours upon hours. They were in fact designed for more of distance work. The transformation from paper to computerhas been so rapid and strong that the eye finds it difficult to cope up with the new demands put on it to work at a near, new visual environment for unusually long hours and in stressful situations.
- The eyes are most comfortable reading printed material held in the hand with the neck slightly flexed and eyes looking downward. The posture of viewing the computer monitor with the eyes looking straight and the neck held straight puts pressure on your back, neck and shoulders leading to neck and back pain.
- Our eyes have no problem focusing on printed material, which is characterized by dense black characters with well-defined edges. However on a computer screen, characters don't have this contrast or well-defined edges. These characters (pixels) are brightest at the center and diminish in intensity toward their edges. This makes it very difficult for our eyes to maintain focus and remain fixed onto these images.
- Working on a computer requires your eyes to continuously focus, move back and forth and align with what you are seeing. This becomes tougher with the older age since after 40's, eyes lose the flexibility to focus at objects as easily as before.
Almost everyone uses a computer, smartphone, or tablet on a daily basis. If the usage time goes well past the typical eight-hour day, your eyes may start complaining. However, an awareness of the above factscould go a long way to alleviate computer vision syndrome and enhance your comfort!
THREE WAYS OF PROTECTING A CLEAR VISION
Does staring at your personal glowing portal to the digital world have an effect on your eyesight? Yes, every day we toggle between spreadsheets and Facebook only to end up staring at fuzzy pixels than ever before. Luckily, help is on the way. This is only temporary and following some simple guidelines can help bring you some much needed relief.
- Blink your eyes: We naturally blink about 12 times every minute, but this rate drops by half when we are viewing a text on the screen. This reduces the supply of moisture to your eyes. If you look away, you'll naturally blink. So, remind yourself to blink more often as it moistens your eyes with tears and breaks up your stare thereby minimizing the chances of dry eyes. Dry eye causes people to arch their foreheads in an effort see better, thus causing headaches. Many people assume awkward, unnatural postures, thus causing sore backs, stiff necks & hurting shoulders.
- Take a break: When using a computer for an extended period of time, take frequent breaks to prevent eyestrain. Prolonged hours on the computer can cause eye focusing and eye strain problems.Rest your eyes for 15 minutes after two hours of continuous computer use. Every 20 minutes, look away from your computer at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This will give your eyes a much needed break and a chance to refocus.
- Monitor your monitor: Make sure to position your computer monitor about an arm’s length away from your eyes so as to ensure comfort and readability. Adjust your screen so that it is in level with your eyes, allowing for a slightly lowered viewing angle. Also make sure to adjust the brightness, contrast, font size and color temperature of your device.
The three B’s approach – blink, breathe and break is the key to prevent digital eye strain. Blink often to moisten and refresh your eyes. Correct breathing can relax your eye muscles, so be conscious of your breathing and don’t forget to take frequent breaks. By keeping in mind these three simple ways to protect the eyes; you can take pleasure in knowing that your eyes will last much longer than our trusty smartphones, tablets and computers.
HOW TO REDUCE EYE STRAIN?
- Follow the three B’s approach.
- Maintain the appropriate distance from the monitor as well as adopt the correct body posture.
- Computer glasses – Normally, people who have very mild glass power won’t require glasses. But for computer users with mild glass power, it might be required to wear glasses while using computers. These kind of glasses are better worn with anti-reflective coating (ARC) which will allow more light to pass through thus providing a better and crisp vision. It prevents glare and reflections on the front and the back of the lenses that would interfere with focusing on the screen.
- Upgrade your old tube type monitor to an anti-reflective flat-panel liquid crystal display with the highest resolution possible so that they are easier on your eyes.
- Choose screens that tilt and swivel and also consider using glare filter over your screen.
- Upgrade to glare-free lighting. Adjust the lighting in your home or work station to avoid glare on the monitor. You can consider installing blinds or shades to reduce room lighting to a lower level.
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water to keep your vision healthy.
- Clean your screen frequently to keep it free from dust, dirt, grime, finger prints or smears with a dry cloth to reduce eye fatigue and glare.
- Try to take some time to unplug and enjoy a screen-free day every week if you can.
- Last but not the least; get your eyes examined regularly by an eye doctor.
If you are a tech savvy person and loves working late hours on the computer it can put strain on your eyes. With a little research, you will find that answers to these problems may be right before your eyes. Yes, just a few minor adjustments can go a long way in preventing or reducing the development of the symptoms associated with Computer Vision Syndrome. Get relief from digital eye strain naturally.