More and more people are spending a significant part of their day looking at an electronic screen, either a traditional computer screen or the displays on their smartphones or tablets. As the amount of time spent in front of a computer screen increases, so does the incidence of computer vision syndrome. Computer vision syndrome refers to the symptoms that can occur by looking at a computer screen for prolonged periods of time. According to a study on the management of computer vision syndrome the symptoms are “…dry and irritated eyes, eye strain/fatigue, blurred vision, red eyes, burning eyes, excessive tear secretion, double vision, headache, light or glare sensitivity, contact lens discomfort, slowness in changing focus, changes in color perception, and neck, shoulder and backache.” Those who must use computer screens on the job often suffer from computer vision syndrome and their productivity can suffer greatly. Fortunately there are many things that can be done to prevent or alleviate these the symptoms of computer vision syndrome. Vision experts at the Mayo Clinic recommend the following
- Take Breaks: Use the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Also, try and get up, move around, and do some other work (without looking at a computer screen) for a few minutes.
- Blink: Most people have the tendency to stare at their computer screen without blinking very often. This will cause your eyes to dry out. Be sure to make yourself blink more often when looking at a computer screen.
- Use artificial tears: Be sure to use a product that does not contain a redness remover, which can make your eyes even more dry. Use as directed no more than four times a day. Ask your doctor which drops he or she recommends.
- Improve your air quality: Use a humidifier, lower the temperature, and avoid smoke.
- Use relaxation techniques: Try this technique from the Mayo Clinic: “Place your elbows on your desk, palms facing up. Let your weight fall forward and your head fall into your hands. Position your head so that your hands cover your eyes, with your fingers extended toward your forehead. Close your eyes and take a deep breath through your nose; hold it for four seconds, then exhale. Continue this deep breathing for 15 to 30 seconds. Perform this simple exercise several times a day.”
- Use Massage: Once or twice a day massage your eyelids and the muscles around your eye for 10 seconds to help activate your tear glands. For added relaxation, place a warm, moist towel over your eyes before massaging.
- Wear the correct eyewear: Be sure that the glasses or contacts you are using are appropriate for computer work. You can get eyewear designed for computer work.
If you are interested in finding out more about preventing computer vision syndrome please contact our experts at Palm Beach Eye Center.