When we were younger, our mom always warned us about sitting too close to the television or being addicted to computer games. Turns out, she wasn’t entirely off the mark. Today, the average adult American spends about eight hours in front of a screen. One of the biggest eye-burn culprits is planting yourself in front of a screen. Our bodies and eyes weren’t designed for modern digital lifestyles. Computer vision syndrome or CVS – also known as digital eye strain – has become an increasingly common condition amongst most working adults. Some symptoms such as headaches, blurry vision, dry eyes, and shoulder and neck pain may be experienced.
How Do Computers Affect Your Vision?
The increasing work hours and uncorrected vision problems can give rise to problems like astigmatism, myopia and presbyopia. Astigmatism is associated with blurry vision. This happens when the shape of the cornea changes, preventing light from focusing properly on the retina. Myopia involves the difficulty to view objects at a distance. Your natural lens will lose its flexibility to shift its focus between objects near and far. Symptoms of presbyopia may include the difficulty to read tiny print in books or on your computer screen.
- Get A Comprehensive Eye Test
Getting a comprehensive eye test is your first step toward treating computer vision problems. Make sure you speak to your eye doctor about how much time you spend on your computer and digital devices. It will help your doctor get the full picture of your eyes in order to determine the best option for you.
- Arrange Your Workstation Properly
Arranging your workstation properly will increase your productivity which is otherwise affected by CVS. Start with adjusting your screen brightness to that of the surrounding environment, depending on what is most comfortable to you. Glare is a major cause of eyestrain. Setting up your computer where glare from the windows does not affect your screen is important. Putting an anti-glare screen on your computer can help minimize the glare and reduce the strain on your vision. Make sure you are using a screen that has a large display and is at least an arm’s length away from your chair.
- Blink Often And Follow The 20-20-20 Rule
Staring at a screen for a prolonged period of time keeps you from blinking as frequently as you normally would. You’re more likely to develop dry eyes, headaches and eye infections. Try to stay conscious of how often you’re blinking and give your eyes a break every 20 minutes. Look away from the screen for 20 seconds, focusing on something at least 20 feet away. This can significantly reduce any eye strain.
- Exercise Your Eyes Frequently
If you’re spending too much time in front of digital screens, chances are your eyes feel tired. The ‘Roll Your Eyes’ exercise can make your eyes feel relaxed. It is a two-minute exercise that requires you to roll your eyes clockwise and anti-clockwise, keeping your eyes open. Try to stretch your eyes as much as you can. This will relax the muscles in your eyes. Another exercise you could perform is the ‘Palming Exercise’ that keeps stress at bay. While taking a short break, rub your palms until they feel warm. Gently place your palms in the cup of your eyes and fingers on your forehead.
Now that you have a better idea of what you need to do to improve your eye health – minimizing the effects of spending too much time in front of digital screens – we recommend you to make this a practice. A few changes to your approach to working in front of a computer can make a big difference.
However, if you are experiencing serious eye issues or are suffering from prolonged headaches, you may want to seek advice from your doctor.
Aaron Barriga is the online marketing manager for Insight Vision Center, an Ophthalmology Center in California. With a knack for understanding medical procedures, and an interest in eye and vision health, Aaron loves to share what he knows and what he learns. He blogs to inform readers about the latest eye care technology and other topics related to eye care, especially LASIK.