Whether you are working long hours at the office or a college student spending hours on the computer writing papers for college finals, you are seeking relief from the discomfort of frequent computer use. Computer Vision Syndrome is a growing problem in our nation affecting millions of Americans. What is Computer Vision Syndrome? It is defined as a temporary vision condition caused by focusing on a computer display for prolonged and uninterrupted periods of time.
It is estimated that between 42-78% of Americans who work in the computer field particularly, video display terminal workers suffer from this condition. There are 2 main factors that contribute to this problem:
1. Individuals who are already nearsighted and people suffering from age related eye problems are prone to this condition. In this particular case, With the advent of technology and widespread computer use, we hardly ever focus on distant objects anymore. The constant strain of staring at the computer for prolonged periods of time without taking breaks, places a strain on our eyes. This contributes to a cumulative build up of stress in the eyes causing vision problems.
2. The second cause is improperly positioned computers that induce eye strain. Computers that are positioned in an upward level cause us to constantly re-shift our focus from work material on a desk to straining to look up at a computer monitor. Optometrist Dr. Kent Daum stated:”the constant refocusing effort stresses the eye muscles and can lead to computer related vision problems.”
What are the symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome? According to the American Optometric Association there are a variety of symptoms such as dry eye, eye strain, neck or backache, headache, light sensitivity and fatigued eyes. The good news is that there is a practical and natural solution to this problem. The following guidelines are recommendations from the American Optometric Association:
1. If you are under age 61 have a regular, thorough eye exam at least every 2 years as advised by your optometrist. After age 61, eye exams should be scheduled every year.This is vital as changes in our eye health occur as we age.
2. Eye doctors advise that computers should be positioned downward so that the individual can view the display comfortably. For example, the screen should be below eye level (about 4 or 5 inches) as measured from the middle of the screen to 20-28 inches from the eyes.
The following simple eye relaxation techniques can further reduce the eye strain related to CVS:
1. Instead of staring at the computer continuously, take periodic breaks every 20 minutes for a period of 20 seconds. This places the eyes in a state of relaxation. Place a sticker on your computer as a helpful reminder to perform this technique.
2. The eye exercise technique of blinking is quite beneficial as it helps to keep the eyes moist; relieving dry eyes. Inhale and exhale deeply while blinking frequently at regular intervals.
3. Two notable vision supplements have been touted for their ability to relieve tired and fatigued eyes.They are Schisandra Berry and Eyebright.Schisandra Berry helps reduce tired and inflamed eyes while Eyebright increases circulation to the blood vessels in the eyes providing stress relief to overworked eyes.
Computer Vision Syndrome can be corrected and the discomfort from this condition can be relieved. By making a few simple changes in conjunction with eye relaxation techniques, you can enjoy a more comfortable work experience free of eye strain, stress and tension.