In today’s modern society, it seems like everywhere we turn we are surrounded by screens. Whether it is our television, our phones, our computers, laptops or tablets, or e-readers; screens are everywhere. With this constant emersion in the digital world, it is not surprising that our eye sight is starting to show the strain of the contestant exposure to digital screens. The eye strain and discomfort that is the result of long periods of exposure to screens even has a name now. It is known as Computer Vision Syndrome.
The most common symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome are dry eyes, soreness in the neck and the shoulders, headaches, blurred vision and eyestrain. Opticians explain that these symptoms are brought on through the extended use of digital screens when there is poor lighting, bad posture, a glare on the digital screen or an untreated vision problem. The reason that this syndrome is different from regular eye strain that comes from reading books or magazines is because the eyes actually have to work harder when they are viewing digital content. When you view something on a computer, the contrast between the letters and the background may not be as sharp as when you look at words on a printed page. The surrounding lighting and glare on the screen will also make more of an impact than if you were reading an actual book. Fortunately, if you believe that you are currently suffering from Computer Vision Syndrome, there are steps you can take to reduce the symptoms.
- Go get an eye exam. It is possible that you have an untreated vision issue that is making it worse when you look at screens. A focusing problem or nearsightedness or farsightedness can all effect how easily you decipher a webpage, so make sure that your prescription eyeglasses are up to date. Even if you do not believe that you have a vision issue, it could be possible that you need glasses that are just for wearing when you are looking at a computer.
- Try to limit the amount of consecutive time you spend in front of a monitor or screen. Take breaks when you are at work or when you are cruising Twitter. If your job requires that you look at a computer for the majority of the day, do not worry! You do not need to quit your job if you have Computer Vision Syndrome, just try to focus on something other than your computer regularly. The general rule is to look away at something else that is at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds, every 20 minutes.
- Try to work in an area that is well lit. Good lighting can reduce the strain on your eyes. Try to reduce the glare on your screen from windows by not sitting with a window directly in front of or behind you. Try to have a bright light that is overhead (and not on your desk) to reduce glare. You can also put a glare screen on your monitor.