The month of March has been designated Workplace Eye Wellness Month. In most office settings and many that are not, workers are bombarded with technology in the form of flat screens, blinking lights and flashing images. As a result, recent studies have shown that what many have initially been dismissing as 'tired eyes' may actually be Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS).
Computer Vision Syndrome is a vision-related problem that results from prolonged computer use. Similar to conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive, stress-related disorders, CVS is becoming a common work-related injury.
Working at a computer requires that the eyes continuously adjust in order to focus on what you are seeing. During your workday you may spend hours alternating between looking down at documents and then back up at a your computer to type.
Accommodating this constant,repetitive change and presenting you with a clear picture requires that a great deal of effort be expended by your eye muscles. The added elements of screen glare and contrast make it a more challenging task for your eyes to continually present a clear picture for the brain to interpret.
Persons who have underlying eye problems-such as nearsightedness or astigmatism- as well as those who may need prescription computer glasses already, are more likely to suffer from CVS. Some of the common symptoms of CVS include headaches, blurred vision, and sometimes neck and shoulder pain.
It is possible to lessen and even prevent eyestrain. In addition to visiting your eye doctor, Prevent Blindness America has the following suggestions to help make your work environment more comfortable:
- Place your screen 20 to 26 inches away from your eyes and a little bit below eye level.
- Use a document holder placed next to your computer screen. It should be close enough so you don’t have to swing your head back and forth or constantly change your eye focus.
- Change your lighting to lower glare and harsh reflections. Glare filters over your computer screen can also help.
- Use an adjustable chair. Choose screens that can tilt and swivel. An adjustable keyboard can also be helpful.