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Staring at a screen all day? Avoid Computer Vision Syndrome

By on March 1, 2018 in Health & Wellbeing

Glasses on computer keyboard

Working in an office inevitably means working on a computer screen. And working on a screen creates an annoying health problem for many people – Computer Vision Syndrome. Also known as CVS, Computer Vision Syndrome affects more than half of people regularly using a screen.

CVS is an umbrella term for a wide array of eye problems triggered by staring at a screen for hours on end. It’s really a form of repetitive strain injury which affects the eyes, causing pain and discomfort.

It can affect people of all ages, even children, who are increasingly using computers more and more in their everyday lives.

CVS is mostly uncomfortable rather than dangerous, but occasionally it forces people to look for a new occupation rather than sit at a screen all day. Symptoms can be unpleasant, ranging from blurred or double vision to irritated or dry eyes, and headaches, neck pain or back pain. It can also make you feel very tired at the end of a shift at work because your eye muscles have been working so hard.

When you use a computer, your eyes are constantly having to refocus. You are probably looking down to read paperwork and then back up to the monitor. And unless you are a touch typist you will also be looking down at your keyboard. Your eyes will also be reacting to the changing images on the screen and adapting to flicker and glare which is quite a big task for your eye muscles.

However, there are a few simple precautions you can take to minimize your risk of suffering with this syndrome.

Three tips for avoiding CVS:
• Visit the optician regularly. You should go once every two years, or annually if there is any glaucoma in your family. Tell your practitioner that you need a prescription for computer use. Make sure that you have an anti-glare coating on your specs.
• Reduce glare on your computer screen as much as possible by closing blinds and drawing curtains when necessary. You could also add a glare filter to your monitor. Check out the lighting over your workspace and ask for a dimmer switch if you think it’s too bright.
• Give your eyes regular breaks. Vary your tasks so that you have a break from the screen if possible. However, if you have to work on a computer all day you are entitled to regular screen breaks and should take them. As well as having a screen break every hour or so, give your eyes a mini-break every 20 minutes by looking at an object about 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

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