Computer vision syndrome — also known as digital eye strain — can be caused by many things, including improper lighting, poor posture, and uncorrected vision problems. Untreated, it can disrupt your work with eye strain, blurred vision, dry eyes, neck and shoulder pain, and headaches.
Often, you have more than one of these symptoms, and they can persist until you make the necessary changes to your device use and working environment and see a professional to address vision problems.
Dr. Jacob West can help you figure out what’s causing your computer vision syndrome and come up with some solutions to mitigate the problems. Below are just some of the things you can do to combat this condition and ease your symptoms.
1. Adjust the position of your computer monitor to reduce strain
Your computer screen should be at eye level, between 20-28 inches from your eyes. If your screen is in the wrong position, you can strain your neck and eyes, which may worsen the headaches and blurry vision associated with computer vision syndrome.
When possible, do your work or send emails at your workstation, where it’s easier to use proper posture, instead of using a tablet or smartphone.
2. Practice good ergonomics
Using proper ergonomics at your desk ensures that you have good, supported posture while you use your computer, which helps reduce strain. Similarly, try to avoid taking your tablet to bed or lounging with it at a coffee shop, as this can add to strain on your neck and eyes.
3. Improve your posture through exercise
Ergonomics alone doesn’t ensure you have proper posture if you have weak back and neck muscles. Try to incorporate light stretching and exercise such as yoga to improve your muscle strength and, therefore, your posture.
4. Keep your eyes hydrated
To avoid redness and strain, keep your eyes well hydrated. The best lubrication is your natural tears, so remembering to blink occasionally while using digital screens helps. If your eyes are continuously dry, consider using over-the-counter artificial tears.
5. Adjust the lighting around your screens
Glare is a major cause of computer vision syndrome, so reducing glare on your screen can reduce your eye strain. The best way to do this is to adjust the lighting in your room. Make sure any windows that may shine on the screen have curtains or blinds and any overhead lighting does not reflect directly on your screen.
6. Invest in an anti-glare screen
If you can’t change the lighting, change how much your screen reflects glare. When buying a new device, consider matte screens, or purchase screen overlays for your current devices that reduce glare.
7. Take frequent breaks from screen work
The American Optometric Association recommends following the 20-20-20 rule for working with a computer: Every 20 minutes, focus on an object at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Additionally, take a longer break every two hours during work.
8. Adjust your screen settings
If your screen is too bright or has the wrong color configuration, your eyes strain to make sense of the information it’s showing. Adjust your screen settings until it feels comfortable.
Keep in mind that as the lighting changes throughout the day, you may need to adjust your screen brightness again. Most digital devices have applications that can reduce the amount of blue light reaching your eyes, which helps reduce digital eye strain.
9. Wear proper glasses if you need them
If you need glasses, wear them while working on your computer or using your smartphone. This helps fight eye fatigue caused by straining too hard to focus.
10. Get an eye exam
If you are experiencing symptoms of computer vision syndrome — even if you don’t think you need glasses — it’s important to make an appointment with Dr. West for an eye exam and assessment. Even a slight problem can cause computer vision syndrome, which may be fixed with a minor prescription. Alternatively, he may prescribe a solution to help your eyes produce more tears or give you additional advice to follow regarding screen use.
Computer vision syndrome can negatively impact your work and be physically uncomfortable. However, by incorporating these simple changes, you can greatly reduce digital eye strain. If you need more information or want to schedule an eye exam, contact West Vision in Tyler, Texas, either by phone or through our online form.