Understanding Computer Vision Syndrome: Symptoms, Causes, and Remedies

The modern era comes with great benefits but also has its culprits. One of them is the fact that most jobs involve working at a desk in front of the computer. Besides the passive aspect of this kind of job, we’re also facing the possibility of developing repetitive stress injuries.

Computer vision syndrome (CVS) is not a specific health condition. It is a generic term encompassing all eye problems caused by extended computer use. More than 50% of regular computer users have at least one CVS symptom. If you use the computer more than three hours a day, it might be your case too.

What are the symptoms related to Computer Vision Syndrome?

Until now, there is no solid evidence that any CVS-related symptoms can lead to permanent eye damage. However, it should not be taken lightly since extended computer use can cause significant eye discomfort and strain. The following symptoms are included in the Computer Vision Syndrome:

– Irritated eyes
– Blurred vision
– Redness in the eyes
– Double vision
– Fatigue
– Headaches
– Neck pain
– Dizziness

Obviously, these symptoms can affect your mood and work performance so it’s best if you don’t leave them untreated. Even if you don’t have them but spend long periods staring at the computer’s screen (or another device’s screen such as smartphones and e-readers), you should have yearly eye exams.

Woman in front of computer

Simple ways to reduce CVS symptoms

Besides an eye doctor’s prescriptions, there are a few important things you can do by yourself to prevent reduce, and even eliminate Computer Vision Syndrome.

Don’t forget to blink and take breaks – Apparently, people don’t blink often enough while they’re staring at the computer screen. One of the most popular rules is the “20-20-20 rule”. Every 20 minutes, spend 20 seconds staring at an object 20 feet (6 meters) away. Or you can simply close your eyes for 20 seconds, which has a similar effect. Since focusing on computer-related activities can make you forget to take a break use your phone or specialized applications to set reminders for these breaks.

Reduce screen glare – This is a factor caused by improper lighting conditions which can aggravate CVS symptoms. Use indirect light sources; don’t keep the computer screen in direct sunlight…etc. Bottom line, position the computer screen and adjust lighting so there is no glare. If that is not possible, using an anti-glare filter is a viable solution.

Properly position the monitor and adjust its settings – Scientists say that the monitor should ideally be placed at 20-26 inches (50-70 cm) from your eyes and you should look at it slightly downwards. Also tweak the monitor’s brightness, contrast and font size so that you’re comfortable with them.

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