Top Tips to Fight Computer Eye Strain
Dr Madhavi Latha, Consultant - Ophthalmologist and Clinical In-charge - Secondary Centres, L V Prasad Eye Institute
With the advent of prolonged computer use in our contemporary society, most computer users complain of eye strain which is technically called “Computer Vision Syndrome”.
Computer Vision Syndrome or CVS is the term used to describe the various symptoms that one experiences due to protracted use of computer. Symptoms may include strain or asthenopia, dryness, grittiness, watering, pain, redness in the eyes, inability to focus, headaches etc, which may in turn lead to decreased productivity and absence from work.
According to National Institute of Occupational Health and Safety, CVS is seen in 90% of people who spend more than 3hours per day at the system.
Here are a few tips to reduce your risk of eye strain due to computer use.
- COMPREHENSIVE EYE EXAMINATION
Comprehensive annual visual assessment with an eye care professional is a must to all those who spend long working hours at the computer. You will be asked to provide information about your working ambience and number of average hours that you spend at the computer.
- COMPUTER EYE WEAR
Glasses depending upon your refractive status will be generally prescribed, especially for intermediate vision with an antireflective coating to minimize the glare emanating from your computer screen. People who already use bifocals may be advised progressive glasses for better intermediate vision.
- VOLUNTARY BLINKING
People tend to involuntarily blink less due to constant staring at the screen leading to evaporation of tears which causes dryness in the eyes. Training your eyes to voluntarily blink while at work helps in natural production and spread of tear film and minimize dryness.
- FREQUENT BREAKS
Taking frequent breaks while at work helps in reducing the risk of fatigue caused by computer vision syndrome. Every half hour that one spends at the system, a 30 sec break is all that is required.
- EYE EXERCISES
Constant staring at the display screen puts a strain on the muscles of the eye. Exercising the eye will help to avoid such muscle fatigue. These include looking up and down, sideways about 10 times each, looking at the farthest object that you are able to visualise from your seat for 10 secs and gazing at your finger placed 30cms from your eyes for another 10 secs. This helps in your focussing ability at variable distances.
- WORK AMBIENCE
a) Lighting – Avoid working in an excessively brightly lit room. Eliminate exterior light and place the source of light to the side of your display unit
b) Work station – Use ergonomic furniture to place the display unit at 25-30cms with centre of the screen adjusted 10-15 degrees below the eyes for comfortable viewing
c) Positioning of the work station and chair to proper height helps in correct positioning of head and neck and also reduces eye strain
- VISUAL DISPLAY UNIT
Modifying the display settings helps reduce the risk of eye strain and muscular fatigue. These adjustments includea) Upgrading your monitor to an LCD – liquid crystal display
b) Brightness - display screen brightness is to be matched to that of the surrounding workstation.
c) Text size and contrast – adjust according to your comfort level.
d) Colour temperature – adjusting it to moderate to higher wavelength of visible light is more comforting to the eyes.
e) Glare – Use of antiglare screen on monitors cuts away unwanted reflections from entering into your eyes