Avoiding Computer Vision Syndrome

Dr T K Munshi

Many people spend hours each day at a computer or handheld device, and whether used for work or, a pleasure, that places a lot of stress on the visual system. Up to 70 million professionals worldwide are at risk for Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) with the number expected  to increase. Frequent headaches, eyestrain, a burning sensation in the eyes, blurred vision , itching, dryness and redness, neck or shoulder pain and general fatigue, besides insomnia;  are all symptoms of computer vision syndrome, or eyestrain resulting from extended computer use.
All that can interfere with work performance. According to the US  National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, CVS affects  90 percent of people that spend three or  more hours a day on a computer; yet there are some things that we can do to prevent it.
Proactive measures include using prescription computer glasses that can lessen the strain on the visual system; setting up our screen so that we are looking at an approximately 20-degree angle four to five inches below eye level; lessen the need to move the head and eyes to scan reference materials — instead, position the reference materials below the screen and above the keyboard; set up the workspace so there is no glare on the computer screen or us– an antiglare screen.
Take frequent breaks from looking at the screen by focusing on something far away for a few seconds every 10 minutes. Also, after one hour of continual use, take a break by standing up and walking around. Moreover, remember to blink; this prevents the eyes from becoming dry. Most of all, get an evaluation from a behavioral optometrist that can provide guidance that is specific to individual needs.
The latest literature around electronics, points towards the impact on sleep, highlighting how the use of electronic devices in the bedroom disrupts the natural pattern of the sleep-wake-cycle, causing insomnia.
The increasing prevalence of electronics in children’s bedrooms creates a culture of evening  arythmia and  light exposure that negatively impacts sleep time and sleep quality. So it is necessary to turn off  PCs and IPads etc.  two hours before you   sleep.