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Computer vision syndrome: what is it?

Technology has become such an integral part of our everyday lives, that it is impossible to envisage if we can do without screen time for even a moment. Whether it is watching television or doing an online masters degree course on your laptop, spending long hours looking at the screen can lead to digital eye strain, also referred to as the computer vision syndrome.

Computer vision syndrome: what is it?

The early signs can be watery eyes, blurred vision or headaches accompanied by head or shoulder pain. Unfortunately, these early signs of computer vision syndrome are often underestimated, which lead to mismanagement of the vision related issues.

What is computer vision syndrome?

Computer vision syndrome refers to the eye and the related problems with vision caused by spending prolonged hours in front of the screen of a mobile, computer or any other digital gadget. This not only affects adults, but also children who are spending hours playing games on their tablets or other devices.

Causes of computer vision syndrome

As compared to reading text, the demands and characteristics of a digital device are visually more demanding. This makes people vulnerable to vision related issues as the rate of blinking is reduced when starting at a screen. Poor lighting, poor sitting posture, inappropriate chair, wrong viewing distance and extra brightness are all factors which contribute to computer vision syndrome. A combination of these factors is the root cause of eye strain.

Diagnosis

A comprehensive examination of the eye is the first step towards diagnosing computer vision syndrome. The process may include:

  • Review of the health issues and the factors that may have caused it.
  • Performing visual acuity tests to check the degree to which the eye has been affected.
  • Refraction test for farsighted and nearsighted persons to determine the appropriate lens power and offer correct prescription glasses.
  • Test to check how both eyes can focus, work and move together.

Treatment

Treatment of computer vision syndrome involves regular eye check ups and changes towards the usage of digital devices, like using screens, blue light glasses etc. Eye drops can also be useful for dry eyes.That said,  a few lifestyle changes are enough to manage computer vision syndrome.

Prevention

Computer vision syndrome what is it unsplash

A few tips to overcome the discomfort associated with eye strain caused by the computer vision syndrome can be overcome by:

  • Blinking more frequently: Blinking from time to time helps moisten the eyes and prevent irritation, especially when using the computer.
  • Take frequent breaks: Sitting in front of a computer for long periods can not only cause eye strain but can be tiring. Take a fifteen minutes break, every two hours or even less. Practice looking ahead at an object for 20 seconds after every 20 minutes.
  • Posture: Chairs that are comfortable and have good back support will keep the shoulders relaxed and help you sit straight. The height of the chair should be such that both feet rest on the floor, arms should have support to help typing and wrists to be on the level of the keyboard.
  • Screen glare: Use screen glare filters and adjust the lighting in the room to avoid glare from the computer screen.
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