Computer Vision Syndrome

Not a little has been said about the damage that constantly staring into a computer’s monitor can cause your eyes, but does that claim have scientific support, or is it just an urban legend meant as an excuse to work less?

After all, before computers were the norm, no one complained of typewriter vision syndrome, did they? On the other hand, many people willingly spend most of their spare time on their computers too, and the last thing they want is a reason to be pried off their precious monitors. Either way, the fact is that computer vision syndrome (CVS) is very real. 

According to studies on this topic, 50%-90% of people who work on a computer experience eye problems. And while there isn’t yet any such thing as computer-blindness, CVS can lead to very unpleasant symptoms, including blurry and double vision, dry and red eyes, irritation, headaches, and neck or back pain. CVS is mostly caused by not blinking enough.

We blink our eyes some 18 times per minute on average, but the more we focus on a monitor the less we blink, depriving our eyes of their natural means of lubrication. Additionally the glare, proximity and angle of the monitor can also increase eye strain and discomfort. 

Blinking is a reflex, but in order to prevent CVS, we have to consciously remind ourselves to blink more frequently when we’re working in front of a computer. It is also recommended to take 20-second breaks every 20 minutes, during which it is advised to look 20 feet away. Moreover, the monitor should be angled at a slightly lower level than the eyes, and in a position in which reflection and glare are reduced. Adjust the monitor’s settings in a way that demands minimal exertion of your eyes. For example, if the font is too small, enlarge it rather than pulling the monitor closer or leaning closer towards it.