With great advancement in information and technology, the use of computers is quite common these days. Nowadays, we mostly stare at the computer screen for several hours to perform various tasks.
Computers are now becoming an integral part of our daily life. The usage of computers made life easier and increased output considerably. Sitting at a particular corner of the room, we are exploring what is happening in the world from the computer. It benefits us in many ways but due to prolonged screen time and exposure causes consequences and side effects too. Using computers for a short period of time doesn’t cause much significant issues. But using them for more than 2 hours daily may result in the collection of symptoms called Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS).
After working at a computer or any other digital devices, at the end of the day you may probably feel something tired eyes or real strain in your eyes. Right??
Various eye problems caused by the prolonged use of computers or simply digital devices falls under Computer Vision Syndrome. Globally, Nearly 60 million people suffer from CVS and are increasing day by day.
What is Computer Vision Syndrome(CVS)?
Computer Vision Syndrome, also referred as Digital Eye Strain explains about the group of eye symptoms and vision related problems that happen from the prolonged use of computer or digital devices such as laptops, tablets, digital notepads, e-reader, smartphones and so on. People may experience discomfort or strain while using digital devices for a long time. Both adults and children can be its victim.
American Optometric Association defines it as a complex of eye and vision problems related to the activities which stress the near vision and which are experienced in relation, or during the use of the computer. Association estimates that 50%-90% of computer users suffer from CVS symptoms.Vision Council reports that nearly 50% of all Americans have jobs that use prolonged computer use.
Similarly, Research conducted by final year optometry students of Chitkara University, to find out the prevalence of CVS in visual display terminal users shows 55.39 %. In their study, they included 139 users with a mean age of 20.95±3.68 years. 17%, 53% and 30% participants were using visual display terminals for <2 hours, for 2-6 hours and >6 hours respectively on a particular day. The result also shows that occurance of CVS symptoms increase with increasing in the number of hours spent on the computer.
What are the Symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome?
There is no quiet proof that computer use causes any long term damage to our eyes. But regular and extended use may show following symptoms.
- Blurred vision
- Redness, Eye irritation
- Shoulder and neck pain
Symptoms experienced by an individual usually depend on the level of their visual abilities and time they spent in computers.
Generally, Symptoms are temporary. Once if you stop working or reduce screen time at the computer, then the severity of symptoms may decline to some extent. But some may experience symptoms even after reducing time at the computer. And in such cases, if CVS not diagnosed, then symptoms won’t only continue to reoccur but may worse in the future.
What are the Causes of Computer Vision Syndrome?
Symptoms may occur in people who have normal 6/6 or 20/20 vision too. If you wear prescription glasses, it doesn’t mean that these remedy symptoms. Vision correction tools like prescription glasses or contact lenses or even surgery cant treat some vision issues. There are various factors for developing CVS. Some of them are as follows.
- Improper viewing distance and angles
- Glare from digital devices
- Poor lighting condition
- Inappropriate glasses for computer use
- Poor sitting posture
- Decreased blink rate
Furthermore, Uncorrected vision problems like hyperopia, astigmatism, inadequate focusing ability and presbyopia also contributes to the development of visual symptoms.
How is Computer Vision Syndrome diagnosed ?
Eye health professionals will perform comprehensive eye examination to diagnose computer vision syndrome or digital eye strain.
- History taking to determine the symptoms or issues that a patient is facing. And to know if there is any pre-existing health or ocular issues as well as to know medication history.
- Visual acuity measurement to know status of vision.
- Refraction to correct and determine the prescription to correct refractive error.
- Special tests done to know how eyes focus something, move or work together.
Mostly, tests done without using drops. But in some conditions, eyes focusing power may be hidden. Use eye drops in such conditions. This drop temporarily paralyzes the ciliary body and the eye cannot focus well.
Using information from a series of tests, eye care professionals will diagnose if you have Computer Vision Syndrome.
Prevention and treatment of Computer Vision Syndrome or Digital Eye Strain
First thing to keep in mind so as to prevent computer vision syndrome is to eliminate the causative factors that lead to symptoms as well as identifying the condition.The earlier the condition is identified, the more it acts as a preventive measure.
Regular comprehensive eye examination, modification in the working area and applying some safety measures while using computers helps to improve pre-existing symptoms and prevents upcoming issues.
Awareness is the first step and is very important. One should be first aware of its effects in our eyes as well as overall health. Along with it, one can follow the following modifications or techniques so as to prevent or minimize the risks.
Regular Eye Check Up
It plays an important role. Make sure you give information to your eye care providers about the time you spend in computers.
Follow 20-20-20 rule
If you spend a long time in front of a computer or any other devices then make sure to follow this rule. For every 20 minutes gap, look something else 20 feet away from your screen for 20 seconds.
Blink your eyes
While using a computer or any other digital devices, our blink rate will automatically decrease. This may lead to dry eyes. So to prevent this, make sure you blink more often while using devices.
Modify screen’s display setting
Adjust the brightness of your device so that it matches the lighting condition around you. This will help to avoid eyestrain.
Adjustment of computer screen
As seen, many people find it more comfortable to view the screen when eyes are looking downward. Generally, the computer screen should be 15 to 20 degrees below eye level i.e about 5 inches as measured from the center of the screen and 20-28 inches from eyes.
Maintain proper lighting at workplace
Place your computer screen in such a way to avoid glare. Consider floor lamps instead of overhead lighting or windows. U can use curtains in windows.
Use Anti-glare screen
If you can’t avoid glare then better you use a glare screen filter. This filter helps to decrease the amount of light reflected from the screen.
Maintaining seating position
Chair should be comfortably arranged so that your body and arms rest properly while you type. Height of the chair should be adjusted in such a manner that your feet rest flat on the floor.
Use special glasses while working at computer
Ask your eye care provider about the special glasses that should be worn basically while using computers. If you don’t have spectacle power and don’t wear glasses all the time, you can use special blue cut lenses fitted glasses while using a computer or any other devices.