Health Care Lifestyle

Eye Health in the Digital Age: Preventing Computer Vision Syndrome

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This October 12 marks World Sight Day, an opportunity to learn about the importance of eye care in the workplace. After all, taking care of our eyes is vital in today’s digital world. Did you know that the average U.S. worker spends seven hours a day in front of a computer?

That said, digital eye strain is a significant health problem — one that not only has the potential to impact your vision, but also your productivity at work. That’s why our experts are doing their part to raise awareness on this growing eye health issue.

Read on for tips on keeping your eyes healthy, so you don’t have to say “Hindsight’s 20/20: in the future.

Computer Vision Syndrome

Another name for digital eye strain is Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS), which the American Optometric Association (AOA) defines as a group of eye- and vision-related problems that stem from prolonged computer, tablet, e-reader and cell phone use.

There are several causes of CVS related to the challenges that can come with viewing a digital screen, such as glare, poor lighting and poor posture.

Symptoms of CVS typically develop when the visual demands of the task exceed the visual abilities of the person to comfortably perform them, according to the AOA. Also, symptoms generally increase or decrease depending on how much time a person spends in front of a screen.

Common symptoms include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Dry eyes
  • Headaches

Untreated vision challenges, like farsightedness, astigmatism and age contribute to the development of eye strain symptoms as well.

How to Prevent Computer Vision Syndrome

The good news is that symptoms of CVS are usually temporary and will go away after you stop or decrease use of a digital device.

Here are some steps you can take to prevent CVS from developing:

  • Improve your posture so your elbows and knees are both bent at a 90-degree angle
  • Move your computer screen to be at or just beyond an arm’s length away, about 20 to 26 inches
  • Place reference materials as close to the screen as possible, which reduces the need to constantly refocus the eyes
  • Reduce glare and harsh reflections on your computer screen by closing window shades. Adjust the contrast or brightness, or attach a filter or hood to your monitor
  • Take frequent eye breaks to reduce eye fatigue. Practice the 20-20-20 rule (taking a 20-second break to view something 20 feet away every 20 minutes)

The Importance of Regular Eye Checkups

Doctors can diagnose CVS as part of a comprehensive eye exam. They may test how your eyes focus, move and work together, as well as take visual acuity measurements. These measurements determine your eyes’ ability to distinguish shapes and details of objects at a distance.

If you’re diagnosed with CVS, your doctor may recommend ideas like making changes in how you view your computer screen or prescribing glasses specifically designed for computer use.

Comprehensive eye exams are an important part of your overall health. Many eye and vision issues don’t have symptoms, so you won’t know there’s a problem until you see a doctor. Early diagnosis and treatment is also critical to helping prevent vision loss and other health conditions.

Your primary care provider can help you navigate your eye health and all your other health needs, too.

Learn about primary care at AdventHealth. You deserve to feel whole.

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