Computer vision syndrome

Do not underestimate a chronic tiredness of your eyes at the computer 

Time spent in front of computer screens and tablets has been growing during the resent years.  It results from growing amount of information we must process on daily basis.  Literarily ‘staring’ in the monitor for hours has become a reality of modern lifestyle.  It is a tax we have to pay for technological progress.  Are we aware of the load for our eyes from this extensive information load?

The main problem is that human eye is not functionally and anatomically adapted to such load. We were not programmed to watch something that is practically in front of our eyes – in this case at distance 50 to 70 cm. Unnatural situation and chronic stress adversely affect the eyes 'staring' in the computer monitor. The signs are described by the ophthalmologist as so called Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS).

The eyesight researches indicate that such form of fatigue and consequent eyesight damage – i.e. syndrome CVS – is indicated in 50 to 90 % people who regularly work with computer, tablet or smartphone. However, it is alarming that similar signs start appearing in children of preschool and school children.  They are often exposed to the TV screens and computers due to computer games and film watching. 

How can computer screen affect human eyes?

CVS id basically something similar as golf elbow or tennis shoulder.  All such damages occur due to long lasting and excessive overloading of some body parts which are not anatomically or functionally adapted.  The elbow joint of a golfer keeps getting more deteriorated and its function is getting worse without rest and rehabilitation, identically human eye exposed to the load suffers in a long run. 

Work on computer is very specific for human eye.  Whilst watching a monitor, both eyes must constantly focus and move fast in various directions (from side to side, from  top to bottom, etc.) on the screen.  Additionally, the distance for the eyes focus often changes – from computer screen to the text we read or rewrite.   The eyes become strongly overloaded by the permanent focus switching.  Eye muscles and both eye lenses are very busy to provide a sharp and eligible image of the surroundings to the brain. 

Many people have no idea that watching the computer monitor for human eye is much more demanding than classic text reading in a book.  The difference is based on brightness, flashing, and sharp contract of computer screen and the tablet.  The hours of ‘staring’ in computer may cumulate into huge amounts.  If somebody spends for example 2 hours a day at the computer screen (it is very average time), it means unbelievable 730 hours a year, that is 30 days! If you have a different eye defect, e.g. short-sightedness or astigmatism and you must wear glasses with correction, your eyes overloaded even more.

CVS syndrome is typical for the presence of some signs (or all signs):

  • Blurred vision
  • Double vision
  • Red or dry conjunctiva
  • Irritated eyes
  • Headache
  • Cervical spine pain

If such signs have been present for a long time and they are not treated, they can have negative effects on eyesight quality and general work performance.  It is not wise to overlook or underestimate the difficulties. What can be done to prevent the problems? We offer several tips to prevent the chronic eye tiredness during work with computer:

1. Let your eyes rest regularly 

Try to looking away from the monitor during work every 20 minutes for 30 seconds and look out of the window or at some more remote object in the office.  During ‘staring’ in the computer the eyes basically do not blink, try to blink during the short breaks to moisten your eyes - eventually use special moisturising eye drops for this purpose. 

2. Adjust the computer monitor setting according to your requirements 

You do not have to stare in the computer screen which is set by the manufacturer.  It is possible to set brightness, sharpness, contrast, size of font, and many other details as you require individually.  You just need to know it is possible!

3. Change the layout of your worktop 

The research results of the ophthalmologists indicate that optimum position for the computer screen is slightly below eye level in the distance of 50 cm to 70 cm from your face. The monitor screen set in the position does not require neck stretching or eye overloading, because you see everything correctly.  If you keep rewriting texts from printed materials in the computer, purchase a stand and place it next to the monitor with the document.  It is not necessary to change the distance of eye focusing during work.  Your eyes and cerebral spine are then effectively protected from excessive load and stress. 

4. Lose excessive brightness and lights from the area

If you have desk or ceiling lights around you which are directed to the computer screen, try to limit it or reduce the brightness which it creates.  If you have the monitor next to window with the passing daylight and your eyes cannot focus on work, find a different place for the monitor. Sometimes it is not possible – particularly in large „OPEN SPACE“ offices with the ceiling lights – to individually regulate the intensity and brigthness of the light aimed at the screen of the computer or a tablet.  Here you can use the special monitor sunscreen which restricts the volume of light from the ceiling lights and improve vision during work.

PIf you have experienced the CVS syndrome signs or if you have been putting pressure on your eyes for a long time, you should regularly visit your ophthalmologist.  If you have an additional eye defect and wear glasses, regular measuring and correction of dioptres is beneficial for your eyes.   The professionals will advice you on the removal of adverse signs which are present with the chronic eye fatigue.  There are even special glasses for ‘computer’ which you may need in order to reduce the eyes fatigue during intense work on computer. The answers to these and related questions to the human eye will be answered by professionals from Pardubice OFTEX Ophthalmology clinic who focus on the prevention and treatment of the civilisation diseases.  Prevention is the key to healthy and quality life. 

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