Spending too much time on the computer each day can adversely affect your vision. Prolonged computer use can lead you to experience computer vision symptoms (CVS). CVS encompasses a variety of symptoms including eyestrain, blurry vision, double vision, dry eyes, eye irritation, headaches, and neck or back pain.
Looking at a computer is more challenging for your eyes than viewing a book or piece of paper. The eyes respond well to most printed text because they are viewing a dark bold letter with defined edges against a contrasted background. Unlike printed text, the eyes strain more as they view computer pixels, which do not have defined edges. This leads to computer screens requiring more effort from eye muscles to constantly focus, move back and forth, and align with what you’re are seeing. In addition, computer screens increase eye strain due to screen contrast, glare, poor lighting, improper viewing distance, and poor posture.
Some people might greatly benefit from customized computer glasses. Computer glasses are a good option for contact lens wearers, who might experience dry eyes and discomfort during sustained computer work. They are also beneficial for people who wear bifocals or progressives lenses, which are usually not optimal for your computer screen distance.
Tips on how to reduce computer vision syndrome
Proper Lighting and Minimize Glare: Eye strain can be caused by excessively bright lights, either outside sunlight or harsh indoor lighting. Keep bright lights overhead to a minimum and try to avoid overhead florescent lights. Move your monitor away/to the side of windows if it is directly in front of a window, or close the blinds. An anti-reflective coating on glass lenses also helps to minimize the glare on computer screens.
Computer Display Monitor: Consider upgrading your monitor if you have an older one. If possible, select a flat screen liquid crystal display (LCD) with the highest resolution. Keep the monitor 20 inches from your face. Also adjust the brightness to the same brightness of your work area.
Blink More Often: People blink less often when working at a computer than otherwise. Blinking is important to prevent drying out the eyes.
20-20-20 Rule: Focusing fatigue also causes eye strain. To help prevent focusing fatigue, every 20 minutes look away at a distant object (20 feet) for 20 seconds. Looking far away helps relax the focusing muscles.
Frequent Breaks: Take frequent breaks during long computer hours to help reduce back, neck, and shoulder pain. If you are at the computer all day, take additional mini breaks. During the break, stand up and move your arms, legs, back, neck and shoulders to help reduce tension and fatigue.