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Computer Vision Syndrome: 12 Tips To Beat It Now.

Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) as the name suggested is a collection of eye related problems that is associated with prolonged usage of computer.

Computer Vision Syndrome

The way we use computer is usually characterized by up close viewing of the monitor and long hours of focusing intently on it.

In the period of focused staring, we tend not to blink as much as we should and this causes strain to our eyes and dehydrates our eyeballs.

In the United States, it's estimated that more than 55 million people suffer from computer related eye or vision problems and 10 million primary eye care examinations are provided annually in the U.S primarily because of visual problems caused by computer displays.

If you spend lots of hours in front of the computer everyday, there is a fair chance that you could be suffering from Computer Vision Syndrome right now.

Symptoms Of Computer Vision Syndrome

CVS does not affect adults only.

In our hard-wired society today, children are spending way more time on computer than before, either at home or in school.

Prolonged computer usage may affect the normal development of your child's eyesight.

Look out for these symptoms to see if your child is having CVS:

  • Blurred vision
  • Eye strain and fatigue
  • Redness in the eyes
  • Double vision or polyopia
  • Dry, itchy or irritated eyes
  • Headaches, backaches, neck pain
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Difficulty focusing on the screen
  • Gradual vision deterioration over time
  • Difficulty in shifting focus from the monitor to other work

What Causes Computer Vision Syndrome?

There are three known factors.

Difficult To Focus On Pixels

Difficult to focus on Pixels

Reading on a computer screen is not natural for our eyes.

In contrast to fine prints which have solid black characters with well-defined edges, characters and images on the monitor is made up of tiny dots (pixels).

This dots are highest in density at the center and diminish towards their edges.

As a result, your eyes cannot maintain focus on them and keep drifting into a reduced level of focusing called “resting point of accommodation”, also known as RPA.

But to keep the image sharp, your eyes will strain to regain focus again.

This continuous cycle of involuntary retreating and refocusing adds stress to the eyes’ focusing muscles, causing them to fatigue and result in eye strain.

Blink Too Little

Secondly, when we are using computer, we tend blink our eyes less frequently.

Research has shown that we normally blink about 20 times per minutes, but when working on computer, we only blink about 6 times per minutes.

The act of blinking moisten your eyes. Without blinking, your eyes tend to dry out and become irritated.

The irritation makes focusing even more difficult, which can lead to headaches and neck pain.

Too Close For Comfort

Lastly, our eye's natural focal point lies about 20 feet in front. When is the last time, you had your computer 20 feet in front of you?

Most people (including me), sit less than two feet from their computer screen.

Focusing on the computer screen at such close distance increases near-point stress, putting long hours of strain on our eye muscles.

After prolonged hours of staring at any sort of digital monitors, these eye muscles become so tense that they can’t relax even if you look away.

Unrelaxed muscles cause the eyeball to remind short and the crystalline lens to stay squeezed causing blurred vision, a main CVS symptom.

This symptom often clears up quickly within a few seconds.

However, if you hit this hazy point too often, the resultant is permanent nearsightedness.

Children And Computer Vision Syndrome

Children And CVS

Children who use computers are even more susceptible to Computer Vision Syndrome than adults.

Children often spend too much time playing computer games and have too little eye breaks.

This situation requires attention as their eyes are still developing.

This type of prolonged activity without significant breaks can cause eye focusing problems and creates early nearsightedness.

Treatment For Computer Vision Syndrome

There are several ways for Computer Vision Syndrome.

One of the instant relief way is to get a over-the-counter eye drops to treat the dry eye symptom or getting a computer glasses to see "better".

But over reliance of such artificial methods will do more harm than good in the long run.

To treat CVS effectively, the 12 methods listed below are much safer.

1) Blink, blink, blink - Blinking is extremely important for maintaining clarity of vision and eye health. Put a small Post-it with the word “blink now” on the corner of your monitor as a reminder.

2) Improve the arrangement of your computer (Ergonomics) - Place your computer screen below eye level for more comfortable viewing

3) Use proper lighting and reduce glare - Glare and extreme light contrast often lead to eye strains. Consider installing blinds or shades to reduce room lighting to lower level.

4) Set larger fonts - Press ctrl + frequently when reading on computer. Let your eyes see comfortably and reduce chances of squinting.

5) Upgrade your display - The higher refresh rate and anti-reflective screens of LCD display are more gentle on the eyes. Choose one that is at least 19 inches and above for best viewing.

6) Deep breathing- Taking complete breaths is important in relaxing your body muscles, including the eye muscles.

7) Take break frequently - Move around after every 1 hour of computer activity. Do some office stretchings. It helps to revitalize your energy level and reduce risk of neck, shoulder and back pain.

8) Limit the amount of time you continuously use the computer - Follow The 10/10/10 Rule. Look at an object which is at least 10 feet away, for 10 seconds, every 10 minutes. If you are in a small room, use palming instead.

9) Drink lots of water - Staying hydrated is important, because insufficient water intake can worsen irritated, dry eyes. Make sure your water supply is within reach.

10) Get a humidity fix - Most often, offices are air-conditioned. This means dry air and dry air leads to dry eyes. Put some real plants in or air humidifier to increase air humidity.

11) Do some eye relaxation exercises - Massage your eyes, use the warm cloth to cover your eyes or relax with an Eye Mask for fast and effective relief of eye strain and muscle tension.

12) Perform Eye Exercises - If you are already experiencing blurry vision and worry about further vision deterioration, I recommend daily eye exercises to overcome it. They can help you to strengthen and relax your eye muscles and increase your natural flexibility and focus.

Final Thoughts

Other than treating the symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome, eye exercises can potentially reverse the effects of nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and presbyopia.

Overtime, you will learn to adapt good vision habits that can further improve your eyesight and stops Computer Vision Syndrome from happening to you.

Pinhole glasses are reported to have relieve computer eye strain. They are better than computer glasses as they can help reduce glares and near point stress.

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