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Home » News » How to Prevent the Pain of Computer Vision Syndrome

How to Prevent the Pain of Computer Vision Syndrome

Tips from your eye doctors in Louisville

Do you spend hours daily working in front of a computer screen? Nowadays, many people in many different professions can answer yes to this question! And if you are like millions of other people in the world (statistics currently estimate the number of sufferers at 70 million worldwide!), as you sit there you probably begin to experience a variety of uncomfortable or painful symptoms as the clock ticks on. For example, your eyes may sting or burn, you may suffer from a headache, or your back and neck may begin to ache. These are all signs of computer vision syndrome, which we diagnose frequently in our eye care offices in Oxmoor, LaGrange, Carrollton, and Springhurst. After your rest your eyes for a bit, the annoying symptoms will generally begin to dissipate – only to return again after you go back to work.

Eyes suffer the most from computer vision

While computer vision syndrome can generate neurological and musculoskeletal symptoms too, it is the visual system that typically suffers the most. Many people experience dry eyes, red eyes, burning, itching, and/or blurry, double vision. The primary reason for this is because digital displays are composed of pixels, which have blurred edges that challenge your eyes’ ability to focus. Without your knowledge, your eyes repeatedly try to rest while you work, by shifting their focus to an area outside of the screen. This constant back and forth focusing between screen and relaxation can lead to fatigue and digital eyestrain.

The other unconscious behavior that leads to ocular symptoms of computer vision syndrome is a reduced rate of blinking. Without realizing it, you blink less when staring at a screen. This causes dry, irritated eyes. To help avoid this problem, our eye doctors in Oxmoor, LaGrange, Carrollton, and Springhurst, KY, remind you to practice the 20-20-20 rule:  every 20 minutes, turn your gaze to something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. It also helps to use preservative-free artificial tears eye drops, and consciously remember to blink as often as you can; this will lubricate your eyes.

Position and posture play a role

If you’ve never given much thought to how far your head is from your computer screen, now’s the time to consider it! To provide your eyes with a comfortable distance for focusing, your computer monitor should be approximately 20-26 inches away from your face. The closer your eyes are to the screen, the harder they need to work to focus on it. Also, when you are gazing directly ahead, your eyes should be level with the top of the monitor, making the center of screen about four to eight inches lower than your eyes. This can help minimize dryness and itching by decreasing the exposed surface of your eyeballs, because you won’t need to open them wide to see. An added benefit of this posture is that it enables your neck to remain in a more relaxed position.

Dim the lights

Visual contrast is critical, and it is achieved best by viewing black writing on a white screen. To maximize the effects, your computer screen should be brighter than the ambient light. Very bright overhead lights and sunlight streaming in through the windows will force your eyes to strain to see the font on the screen. A bright monitor also causes your pupils to constrict, which gives your eyes a larger range of focus. If you struggle daily with glare from the artificial lighting or windows in your office, it may help to reposition your desk, lower the window shades, or install a dimmer switch on the overheads. Another tip to is use an anti-glare cover on a flat screen, and put on a pair of glasses with anti-glare or tinted lens treatments.

Computer glasses can help

If you work from printed materials, continuously moving your eyes back and forth from these pages to the computer screen, you are likely bothered by neck strain. Mounting documents on a stand next to your monitor may help minimize your discomfort. Another helpful solution could be to invest in a pair of specialized computer glasses. These prescription glasses are bifocal or progressive, with the upper portion of the lenses used to target screen reading and the lower part of the lenses designed for print distance.

For more information about how to prevent computer vision syndrome and alleviate the painful symptoms of this contemporary condition, visit our experienced optometrists at Gaddie Eye Centers, in Oxmoor, Carrollton, Springhurst, and LaGrange, KY.