Thursday, November 29, 2007

Computer Vision Syndrome

Anybody who spends 2 or more hours a day using a computer may potentially suffer from Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS). The symptoms can be quite varied but generally include some or all of the following:
  • Headache – due to eye-strain
  • Aches & Pains – especially of the shoulders and neck due to poor posture at the computer because the wearer is sitting at an unnatural position/angle in order to obtain good vision
  • Dry Eyes – due to reduced blinking
  • Tired Eyes –due to strain focusing on the screen
  • Blurred Vision – due to decreased tears and focusing difficulties

Some or all of these symptoms should send you to your eye-doctor. He/She will likely confirm the diagnosis with or without the aid of a specialized computer vision screening test. They will then most likely prescribe a pair of computer glasses. In the simplest cases, these may comprise single-vision glasses with a low “plus” power addition that provides slight magnification, a light tint (possibly rose or gray) to
make reading more relaxing on the eyes, and a UV coat to reduce harmful radiation from the screen. These computer glasses may alleviate many of the above symptoms. In addition, to alleviate your symptoms you should always follow these basic steps:
  • Ensure you have adequate and appropriate lighting – eyestrain occurs when the light coming from outside or inside is excessively bright. You should reduce exterior light by drawing shades/blinds – this will make the monitor easier to read. Reduce interior light where possible also.
  • Adjust the screen brightness & contrast on your monitor – make sure the contrast is optimized for readability of text and the brightness is adjusted for maximum comfort
  • Minimize glare – keep obvious light sources away from areas where reflection will be a problem. Use an anti-glare filter on the screen, or consider an anti-reflective coating on your glasses

Finally, the problem of dry scratchy eyes will often require treatment with eye drops, supplements, or in extreme cases treatment with punctual occlusion (a procedure in which the tear-duct drainage points in the eye are partially blocked to allow tears to remain for longer periods in and around the eyes).
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