It's typical to have fatigued eyes after a day of staring at a computer monitor. This has become such a common problem in the workplace that eye doctors now classify this eye strain as computer vision syndrome (CVS). Statistic Brain notes that nearly 70 percent of the workforce using computers experience CVS each day. If your work requires long hours in front of the computer, here is what you're facing and how to reduce the strain on your eyes.
Blame Technology for Your Tired Eyes
When your read printed material, the characters are of a consistent contrast on a static background. Once your eyes focus on the page, they need not change focus for subsequent pages. The eyes do little physical work once you start reading a printed book.
Words on a computer monitor are made up of pixels, little dots of light. They are brighter in the center than at the edges. The words may look clear to you, but your eyes are constantly focusing to see the words clearly. The constant use of the eyes' focusing muscles to see the screen is the cause of eye fatigue and strain.
Common Symptoms of Your Computer Vision Syndrome
A number of symptoms occur with CVS and they aggravate each other and create more painful issues such as:
- Loss of focus, double vision and blurred vision - As your eye muscles get fatigued, they can no longer focus properly.
- Red, burning eyes - Overworking the eye muscles causes inflammation and a burning sensation.
- Eye twitching - The muscles around the eye begin to react to the tired muscles and develop tiny spasms which manifest as twitching.
- Neck and shoulder pain - Your neck and shoulders attempt to help your eyes stay focused so they become stiff which leads to painful muscles in those areas.
- Headaches - Headaches of varying levels can occur following the overworked eye, neck and shoulder muscles.
The first step to fixing CVS is to visit your eye doctor and rule out any medical condition that could cause these symptoms. Then you can make some adjustments to how you work to reduce the chance of these symptoms.
Preventing CVS Symptoms at Work
By making changes to your work area and how you work in front of the computer, you can cut down on the eye strain.
- Changes to the monitor - Adjust the monitor so it is from 20 to 40 inches from your eyes, recommends OSHA. Tilt the screen so you are looking down slightly at it. Keep the screen clean of dust and smudges. Use a glare filter on the screen, especially when fluorescent lighting is being used to light the office area.
- Changes to your work area - Adjust any lighting to remove glare from the monitor. Use an adjustable chair so you can easily change your position. Use a document holder that is level to the screen so you don't have to repeatedly look down and back up to the screen.
- Changes to your work routine - Every few minutes, look away from the screen and focus on something farther away for a few seconds. Take regular breaks to get up from your chair and stretch your back, neck and shoulder muscles. Keep a bottle of artificial tears at your desk and use them when your eyes feel dry.
Optical Changes Can Help
Your ophthalmologist can give you a prescription for glasses with special lenses for computer work. These do some of the focusing for your eyes so they don't have to work as hard. Reading glasses that you get from the drug store won't give you this level of relief.
Don't continue to go home with headaches and fatigued eyes. With a little attention to your environment and how you work, you'll prevent this painful condition. To find more information on how you can protect your eyes, visit http://www.aspeneyewear.com.