How to Avoid Computer Eye Strain

Submitted by Clavenna Vision Institute on June 19, 2014

Computer Eye StrainComputers can make us more productive, but the bad news is, that too much screen time can also lead to computer vision syndrome (CVS). Recognizable as a tired, strained feeling your eyes have after a day in front of a computer screen, CVS affects some 64% to 90% of office workers.

 
The condition likely does not cause permanent eye damage, but it can still affect computer users’ comfort level. The most common symptoms of CVS include eye strain, redness, irritation or dryness, blurred or double vision after computer use, headaches and neck and shoulder pain.

 
Several factors increase the likelihood of CVS, including uncorrected vision problems, dry eyes, glare on the screen, incorrect lighting, posture, and even the angle of the monitor. Another big factor is incorrect prescriptions: almost 71% of people reporting symptoms of CVS wear eyeglasses or contact lenses. Here are some guidelines to ease your discomfort and decrease your risk:

 
Have your eyes checked regularly. If you need a new or changed prescription but don’t have it, using a computer will be difficult. It might be time for new glasses.

 
Reposition the computer. The screen should be about an arm’s length away and positioned directly in front of your face, not off to the side. Position the monitor so its center is 4 to 8 in. below your eyes, which allows the neck to relax while you read and type.

 
Follow guidelines for good posture. It will reduce strain on the back, neck and shoulders.

 
Ensure proper lighting. Try the visor test to determine if current lighting is a problem: look at the monitor and cup your hands over your eyes like a baseball cap. If your eyes immediately feel better, then the lighting should be changed. Experiment with brighter and dimmer lighting, as well as the angle of the lights, to find what’s most comfortable for your eyes.

 
Reduce glare. Installing anti-glare filters on the monitor, adjusting window shades and changing the screen’s contrast and brightness can help reduce glare and reflections. If you wear glasses, purchase lenses with anti-reflective (AR) coating. AR coating reduces glare by minimizing the amount of light reflecting off the front and back surfaces of your eyeglass lenses.

 
Blink frequently. It can help prevent dry eyes. If that doesn’t work, consider using lubricating eye drops. Also make sure air vents aren’t blowing on your face (this can dry out the eyes), and use a humidifier if the room is significantly dry.

 

Take regular work breaks. Stand, stretch or just look off into the distance, away from the computer, every 15 minutes or so to give the eyes a break.

 
Clean the monitor regularly. Dust can decrease screen sharpness, making the eyes work harder.

 
Try computer glasses. Unlike everyday eye wear, they are designed specifically for looking at computer screen distances. This is especially true if you normally wear contact lenses, which may become dry and uncomfortable during sustained computer work. Computer glasses also are a good choice if you wear bifocals because these lenses generally are not optimal for the distance to your computer screen. Ask our opticians about computer glasses the next time you are in for a visit.