After writing ‘Trials & Tribulations of a Screen’, I came across an article that I found very interesting, discussing Computer Vision Syndrome. I therefore decided to spend a little time chatting about it.
What the article was saying was that if your work requires long hours in front of the computer, it’s likely that you may be suffering from Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) and that you probably won’t be aware of it.
CVS is a temporary condition caused by prolonged focusing of eyes on a computer or digital screen. When you work at your computer, your eyes are constantly fixed on the screen, with no change in the distance that you are looking at (the screen) except if, like me, you have to keep glancing at the keyboard to find the letter that you want. All that you are doing is gazing and focusing on the changing images on the screen which leads to the focusing “lock” I’ve mentioned previously. This causes a lot of stress to the muscles in your eyes, eventually leading to CVS. It is similar to other repetitive stress injuries caused by carrying out the same activity over and over again. Most people who work at a computer regularly experience some form of eye trouble.
Common symptoms of CVS include:
Redness in the eyes
Vertigo or dizziness
Does any of this sound familiar? It certainly reminded me of a lot of conversations that I have had over the last few years. What it didn’t mention is the effect of using a computer screen whilst wearing spectacles of particualr designs. If you wear bifocals or some of the less advanced varifocal designs then the only way that you can clearly see the screen is to raise your chin and probably move your face closer to the screen. This position is commonly known as “The Hawk”, because your posture resembles a bird of prey!
The Hawk posture puts an enormous strain on your shoulders, neck and spine, and is another significant cause of discomfort and problems whilst using a PC.
If you are using a tablet or laptop the Hawk position is much reduced, but the required distance from your eyes to the screen will still mean that your posture will be affected, and you are still likely to suffer from CVS.
So what can be done to make computer and digital screen use more comfortable and more efficient?
I’ll be discussing a number of options in my next blog, but the following tips can be very helpful.
1) Position your computer monitor at least 50cm (20 inches) away from your eyes – at arms length is much better.
2) Make sure that the lighting is optimal. Try to avoid working under overhead fluorescent lights, although in a modern office this can be difficult.
3) Remember to blink your eyes frequently. The eye is most comfortable with roughly a blink a second, and most digital screen users only blink every three to four seconds. Blinking helps replenish the tear film and prevents dry eyes. It is not unusual to need tear reinforcement (artificial tears), particularly in modern air conditioned offices. If you require any advice regarding which type of artificial tear is going to help most, chat to your eye care professional or get in touch with us.
4) Remember to look away from your computer screen at regular intervals to break the focus lock. I have found that if you can spend 20 seconds looking at something 15 feet (or more) away, every 10 minutes, your eyes will feel much better.
In my next blog I’ll discuss what else can be done to make using these amazing screens, tablets and smart phones much more comfortable.
In the mean time, if you would like any further information please call in to chat to our friendly staff, ring us or drop us an email. Call 01332 666760 (Spondon) or 01530 832769 (Whitwick) or email us at email@example.com
Owner and Dispensing Optician