Computer vision syndrome (CVS) may be spreading faster than any virus. Fortunately, proper eye care and simple adjustments are all that most adults need to reduce eye strain.
Studies show that up to 90% of computer users experience at least one symptom of CVS. You’re at risk if you average 3 or more hours online each day. That probably describes most of the population, especially when they’re spending more time at home.
The main symptoms include blurry or double vision, dryness, itching, redness, and sensitivity to light. CVS can also cause headaches and muscle soreness.
Have your eyes been bothering you lately? Try these tips for preventing and treating CVS.
Preventing Computer Vision Syndrome
One study found that 71% of students sat too close to their monitors and 66% had their monitors set too high. Take a look at your environment and technology habits.
These tips can help prevent CVS:
1. Position your screen. Most experts recommend sitting about 24 inches away from your monitor and having the center of your screen about 4 to 5 inches below eye level. Adequate distance and looking down helps to prevent your eyes from drying out and working too hard.
2. Increase font size. Do you have trouble reading from that far away? Enlarge the type rather than squinting or stretching your neck.
3. Reduce glare. Online images are blurrier than print materials. Focusing will be easier when your screen is brighter than your surroundings. If necessary, pull the shades and switch to lower watt bulbs.
4. Shift your gaze. You may have heard of the 20-20-20 rule. Rest your eyes by looking at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds each 20 minutes.
5. Take breaks. Go offline for at least 15 minutes after working for two hours straight. Exercise, eat a healthy snack or chat with someone face to face.
6. Blink more. Research shows that we blink slightly less online, but that adds up over time. Remind yourself to blink frequently to rehydrate your eyes. Using a humidifier and avoiding fans on your face will help too.
7. Quit smoking. Eye strain is one more reason to give up tobacco. Make a concrete plan and set a date to quit.
8. Limit screen time. Healthy habits will make your time online more pleasant, but only if you observe sensible boundaries. Block out technology free zones each day, like mealtimes and 2 hours before bed.
Treating Computer Vision Syndrome
Left untreated, even minor eye issues can interfere with your productivity and wellbeing. See your eye doctor at least once a year.
These strategies will help you deal constructively with CVS:
1. Update your prescription. Are you tilting your head or leaning toward your screen? You may need new glasses.
2. Use special lenses. Maybe you need a different set of glasses for working online. Progressive lenses can help if you often switch between printed material and your screen. Special coatings can increase contrast and cut down on glare.
3. Apply drops. If your eyes are extra dry, let your doctor know. They may recommend over the counter moisturizing drops or give you a prescription.
4. Train your brain. Brain and eye coordination is another issue that can lead to CVS. An ophthalmologist can perform special tests to make a diagnosis. If necessary, they’ll prescribe visual therapy and give you exercises you can do at home.
5. Keep a log. Tracking your symptoms is a proven way to increase the quality of care you receive. Make a list of concerns and questions you want to discuss with your doctor.
Computer vision syndrome can make you uncomfortable and interfere with your daily activities. Find relief by establishing healthy computer habits and talking with your eye doctor. It also helps to set sensible limits on the time you spend online.