Are computers contributing in eye health problems?
Working with computers is highly visually demanding task. It may cause visual problem and symptoms. Most of the studies report that there are more eye problems with computer operators than with the non-computer office users. It has been noted that visual symptoms occur in about 75% to 90% of people working with computers. Computer vision syndrome (CSV) occurs when viewing demands overshoots the visual ability to see the computer for a particular period of time. When we talk about CSV we refer to people who have discomfort viewing computer. Can anyone can experience these symptoms? Well they can but research has shown that computer users have more intense and series of complications than that of a non-computer user. Poor workplace ergonomics can also contribute in increasing the symptom of CSV. The contributing factors may include poor lighting, glare on the computer screen, improper viewing distance, poor seating posture, uncorrected vision problem and so on.
How can you diagnose that you have computer vision syndrome?
We must determine that the problem experienced by individuals are not for any medical health reason, medication taken, or environmental factors which may not be related to computer use. Visual acuity must be assessed in order to get an insight on vision and its relation with computer use. To have an idea of how the eye can focus, move and work together orthoptic evaluation can be done. These tests are important as to understand how the two eyes work together as a pair.
Based on all the above factors your optometrist will decide that if you have computer vision syndrome or not.
Eye care and computer vision syndrome:
In cases with individuals who do not need glasses they might get benefited from glasses prescribed specifically for computer use.
- Glasses or contact lens are given to meet unique visual demands for viewing of computer screen for longer hours. Special design lenses, lens coating may help in maximizing comfort and how you view the screen.
- Some individuals have a tough time in focusing the screen as co-ordination between the eyes are not that good, that can also be due to under correction in glasses. Vision therapy can help improve these facilities and help the two eyes to work together.
(Picture courtesy: Anil Yadav@Flickr)
There are several factors which we can improve, that will intern improve our condition in fighting this syndrome. The way future in headed we are unlikely to stop using computers, on the contrary computer use will increase in a much broader aspect.
Computer screen location: In most cases individuals feel comfortable when the computer screen is slightly lower than the eye level. In practice the computer should be 15° to 20° lower than the eye level and approximately 28 inches away from the eyes.
Reference document position: The document should be placed below the monitor, if that cannot be done then the position of the document should be such that the head movement is minimum.
Lighting: The position of the screen should be such that the glare effect coming from the other light sources on the screen should be minimum. We can add blinds and drapes to restrict outside light fall on the screen.
Anti-glare screen: Anti-glare screen can be used on the screen to reduce the unwanted noise of light as well as light reflection from outside.
Seating position: Chairs should be adjusted to a comfortable position so that your feet should rest flat on the floor.
Take rest breaks: Eyestrain is the most common problem in CVS. To avoid eyestrain 15 minutes’ breaks are needed after 2 hours of work and to see distant objects after every 20 mins as well which helps in tear stabilization and our ability to refocus.
Blinking: Dry eye may be a secondary cause of CVS. Make an effort to blink frequently so that the front surface of your eyes is always moist.
Regular eye examination and proper work place habit can help reduce symptoms for CVS.
I can definitely conclude by stating a quote from John F. Kennedy: ”Man is still the most extraordinary computer of all”