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Computer Use, Dry Eyes, And Eyestrain, Oh My!

Long Term Computer UseThe vast majority of people in the western world spend several hours every day on digital devices such as computers, smartphones, tablets, and televisions. Unfortunately, dry, itchy, and red eyes, and eye strain related to digital devices are so commonplace that eye care professionals have been forced to come up with a name for the specific condition: computer vision syndrome (CVS).

What is Computer Vision Syndrome?

Computer vision syndrome (CVS) occurs as a result of hours spent on digital devices causing eye strain and symptoms of dry eye syndrome.

As more and more of our patients spend hours every day looking at these devices for both work and leisure, our eye care team has seen a significant spike in cases of adults and children experiencing symptoms.

If you have CVS, you may experience:

  • Blurred or double vision
  • Excessive watering of the eyes
  • A burning or stinging sensation in your eyes
  • Oversensitivity to light
  • A gritty feeling or feeling like there’s something in your eye

Many of these symptoms can be traced back to the fact that you blink significantly less while on digital devices, which causes the tears that hydrate your eyes to evaporate more quickly. Slower, less frequent blinking also means that the evaporated tears aren’t replenished as quickly either, leaving your eyes feeling dry and uncomfortable.

5 Tips to Prevent CVS

Luckily, computer vision syndrome can be effectively managed with a few simple adjustments to your screen time.

  1. Follow the 20-20-20 rule. Eye care professionals recommend you take a break every 20 minutes to stare at an object at least 20 feet away, for at least 20 seconds. This allows your eyes to rest and reset before going back to work at the computer.
  2. Adjust the angle and distance of your screen. Your screen should be a minimum of 20 inches and a maximum of 28 inches from your eyes while viewing your screen during work or leisure time. The center of the screen should be 4-5 inches lower than your eye level.
  3. Use a cool-air humidifier. Humidifiers add moisture to the air, which helps prevent your eyes from drying out.
  4. Reduce glare. Put a glare filter on your screen if possible, and make sure your screen isn’t placed either in front of a sunny window or across from it such that the sun reflects in the screen. This is because your eyes have to work much harder to read when there is glare reflecting off your screen.This can cause significant eyestrain and headaches.
  5. Get computer glasses. Computer glasses allow your eyes to focus on a computer screen with less effort and the blue-light filter may also reduce exposure to potentially harmful blue light emitted by digital devices.

Want to learn more about how our Belmont eye care team at Complete Eye Care can help keep your eyes healthy and comfortable? Come visit our eye clinic or give us a call at 704-825-9002 today!