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What is computer vision syndrome?

Computers are everywhere. Let's face it. There is no way to escape them. 70% of the homes in the United States have computers today. 65% of the workforce uses a computer on the job. With the increasing use of computers in everyday life, it is not surprising to find that some vision problems are arising. Everyday, someone walks in for an exam with a complaint classified as computer vision syndrome, or CVS.

So, what exactly is CVS? Well, it is a condition that results in visual discomfort when viewing a computer screen due to ergonomic issues and decreased blinking when staring at the screen. Symptoms include eye strain, blurry vision at distance and near, headaches, neck aches, back aches, dry eyes, double vision, and light sensitivity. Development of these symptoms are reliant upon one's glasses, environment, and habits.

So I bet you're wondering: what can I do to prevent or relieve CVS? Luckily, there are some simple ergonomic adjustments that you can make to ease CVS problems. The distance, angle, and orientation of the computer screen is very important. The screen should not be positioned straight ahead. This strains the eyes, decreases blinking, and gives you no place to look for a break. The screen should be positioned 24 inches from the eyes, and angled at 15-20 degrees upward to allow a downward view. This should allow you to look over the computer without lifting your head with the proper head and body position to prevent headaches. It will also keep the eye partially covered to prevent drying. To prevent strain, take a break every 20 minutes, and look over the top of the monitor.

If your eyes still continue to feel dry, it is due to a decreased blink rate from staring or the dry environment of the office. Consciously blink every three lines when reading on a screen, and keep a bottle of over-the-counter artificial tears close by. These drops can be used 4 to 6 times a day to help with dryness. Finally, never position the screen in front of a window. This will increase the glare due to the outside light.

There are many ways for you to ease the strain of computer vision syndrome on the eyes. If these solutions do not resolve your issues, the problem may due to the need for a glasses prescription, or another vision problem. Consult you eye doctor if your problems worsen or persist. Regardless, computer vision syndrome can easily be handled by controlling your eye health, ergonomics, and environment.