Computer vision syndrome (CVS) is a condition that is caused by spending too much time in front of a computer screen. Symptoms can include dry eyes, blurred vision, headaches, and eye fatigue. And it’s not just people who spend hours in front of a computer at work that need to worry.
If you use your laptop or tablet on the go – for example, commuting on public transport – and find yourself squinting to make out what’s happening on the screen, CVS could be the culprit. So, if you want to reduce the risk of developing CVS, if you already have it, or are at high risk for it, here are some tips to help:
Tip #1: Make Your Screen More Comfortable to Look At
If you’re working on a laptop or tablet, one of the most important things you can do is make sure your screen is at eye level and facing you directly. If your device is below your eye level, it will be difficult for you to look at the screen without tilting your head forward or back. That can cause neck strain and headaches.
Make sure that your screen is at eye level by raising your computer on a stand or book or placing it on a desk directly in front of you. If you lower the height of your device, place a pillow underneath to raise it, so you don’t have to strain your neck.
Tip #2: Improve Screen Glare and Reduce Eye Strain
Glare from your screen can also significantly cause eye strain and CVS. If you’re using a laptop with a glossy screen, try to position it so that the light source is behind you or at an angle. This will reduce the amount of glare you’re working with.
If you’re using a desktop computer and the screen is not glossy, you can get an anti-glare screen that reduces reflection by filtering out UV light. If neither of these options works for you, consider purchasing an LCD monitor hood to place on your screen. This is a clip-on cover that reduces glare and adjusts the image’s tone.
Tip #3: Block Out Unnecessary Light
If your screen is too bright, you may need to adjust its brightness settings or try using an app that gives you more control over what you see on your screen. You can also get computer glasses with photochromic lenses that help filter out blue light and improve contrast.
This way, you don’t have to worry about your screen being too bright or too dim, and you can reduce the glare from overhead lights. So, if you’re working on a laptop in an office, for example, you can just put your computer to sleep and close the lid when you’re not using it.
Tip #4: Take Off Your Glasses or Contact Lenses
If you wear eyeglasses or contacts, wearing them can make it difficult to focus on computer screens. Instead of fiddling with your glasses or adjusting your contacts, you can take them off when working with a computer. This also applies to eyewear for certain conditions, such as wearing smart glasses for macular degeneration.
However, if that doesn’t help relieve your CVS symptoms, you could try wearing glasses specifically designed for computer use. Computer eyeglasses have an anti-reflective coating on the lenses to reduce glare so you can read what’s on the screen without straining your eyes.
Tip #5: Refresh Yourself Frequently
If you’re working on your computer for hours at a time without taking regular breaks, your eyes may suffer. Even if you can’t take complete breaks from staring at the screen, try to take frequent breaks during which you look away from the screen and focus on something in the distance.
You could also try setting a timer to remind you when it’s time to take a break. You can also refresh your eyes by taking short walks around the office or simply closing them for five minutes at a time.
Tip #6: Blink Often
Blinking is your eyes’ way of keeping themselves lubricated. When you’re staring at a screen, you blink less frequently than usual – and that can cause dry eye symptoms such as irritation, itchiness, redness, and burning.
To prevent the dry eye from affecting your vision when working on a computer, try to blink more often – at least 15 times per minute. This will also help prevent your eyes from drying out and feeling fatigued by the end of a long workday.
Tip #7: Improve the Viewing Distance to Your Screen
The viewing distance is another important factor in preventing CVS. The American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends an eye-to-screen distance that’s roughly two times the diagonal length of your screen. So, for a 19-inch monitor or laptop screen, that would be 38 inches (diagonal length is measured from one corner to the opposite corner).
The AOA suggests placing it 24-30 inches away from your eyes if you have an LCD monitor. If you have a CRT monitor, position it 30-36 inches from your eyes. If you use a laptop or have a desktop computer, put your screen at eye level.
Computer vision syndrome (CVS) has become a significant problem for those who spend hours on the computer every day. If you’re experiencing eye fatigue, headaches, blurred vision, and dry eyes, try following these seven tips to reduce your risk of developing CVS.