Computer vision syndrome (CVS), also called digital eye strain, is a group of eye- and vision-related problems that result from prolonged computer, tablet, e-reader and cellphone use. The suggestions below can alleviate some CVS symptoms:
- Don't take a vision problem to work. Even if you don't need glasses for driving, reading or other activities, you still may have a minor vision problem that is aggravated by computer use. You may need a mild glasses prescription to reduce vision stress on the job. It's a good idea for computer users to get a thorough eye exam every year.
- Make sure your glasses meet the demands of your job. If you wear glasses for distance vision, reading or both, they may not provide the most efficient vision for viewing your computer screen, which is about 20 to 30 inches from your eyes. Tell your optometrist about your job tasks, and measure your on-the-job sight distances. Accurate information will help you get the best vision improvement. You may benefit from one of the new lens designs made specifically for computer work.
- Minimize discomfort from blue light and glare. Blue light from LED and fluorescent lighting as well as monitors, tablets and mobile devices can negatively affect your vision over the long term. Special lens tints and coatings can reduce the harmful impact of blue light. Minimize glare on your computer screen by using a glare reduction filter, repositioning your screen, or using drapes, shades or blinds. Also, keep your screen clean; dirt and fingerprints increase glare and reduce clarity.
- Adjust your work area and computer for your comfort. When using computers, most people prefer a work surface height of about 26 inches. Desks and tables are usually 29 inches high. Place your computer screen 16 to 30 inches from your eyes. The top of the screen should be slightly below horizontal eye level. Tilt the top of the screen away from you at a 10- to 20-degree angle.
- Use an adjustable copy holder. Place reference material at the same distance from your eyes as your computer screen and as close to the screen as possible. That way your eyes won't have to change focus when looking from one to the other. Also, you won't have to move your head back and forth.
- Take alternative task breaks throughout the day. Make phone calls or photocopies. Consult with co-workers. After working on your computer for an extended period of time, do anything in which your eyes don't have to focus on something up close.