Staring at computer screen for long periods of time can cause severe strain on our eyes and vision, and lead to many symptoms like headaches, watery eyes, gritty eyes, sore and red eyes, along with neck and back strain. A Computer Vision Syndrome refers to such a state where our eyes start getting these sort of symptoms over a period.
Working adults aren’t the only ones who are dealing with Computer Vision Syndrome. Even children, who use tablets and gaming devices have seen an increase in the symptoms.
There are four main reasons for this syndrome:
1. Computer screen produce images by constantly refreshing the images (60,120, 240 Hz refresh rate) this leaves the eye in a state of constant stimulation hence the rate of blinking decreases from an average of 22 to 4-6 times per minute . This causes dry eyes which causes symptoms like grittiness, foreign body sensation, “sand in eyes” feeling, redness and soreness of eyes.
2. Prolonged staring for near vision results in convergence spasm of the small eye muscles since the eyes are not geared for prolonged near work. This causes headaches, and also sometimes, inability to focus.
3. Neck and back staring are the result of improper posture and improper positioning of computer screen or desk, and also using inappropriate chairs. Reading in bed from screen devices also causes significant problems.
4. You’re more likely prone to this syndrome if you already have any preexisting dryness of the eyes, or if you are not wearing the correct power of glasses.
Treatment of Computer Vision Syndrome
Computer Vision Syndrome is a lifestyle disease, and therefore, its prevention is better than its cure. Minor lifestyle modifications can ensure that you enjoy all your screen devices without any hassles.
Limit screen time: Make sure you are aware of the amount of time you spend on-screen devices and try to decrease your dependence on smartphones.
Ensure proper posture: Make sure your keyboard is positioned to support your wrists, and your computer screen is positioned so that you can look down on the monitor. Optimally, the computer screen should be 15 to 20 degrees below eye level (about 4 or 5 inches) as measured from the centre of the screen and 20 to 28 inches from the eyes.
Take appropriate breaks: Do not stare at a screen without taking breaks. Remember to follow the 20-20-20 rule; take a 20-second break to view something 20 feet away every 20 minutes.
Think and Blink: Remember to blink since blinking helps redistribute the tear film, and prevents dryness of the eyes.
Proper light: Ensure that there is proper ambient lighting and do not work in the dark.
Wear spectacles: Make sure your vision problems are treated, and your eyeglasses prescription is up to date. Limit the use of contact lenses since they aggravate dryness and strain.
Ensure proper lubrication: Use over the counter, preservative free lubricating eye drops to soothe your eyes. Do not use honey, rosewater or other home remedies. Do not self-medicate, or use steroid drops unless prescribed by an ophthalmologist.
See your eye doctor: In case your symptoms persist, please make sure you seek a comprehensive eye examination with your eye doctor since these symptoms can sometimes signify other diseases including undiagnosed refractive errors.