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Computer Vision Syndrome

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What Symptoms Are Part of Computer Vision Syndrome?

There's no evidence that computer vision syndrome causes any long-term damage to the eyes -- for example, cataracts. However, regular computer use can be the source of significant eyestrain and discomfort.

If you have computer vision syndrome, you may experience some or all of these symptoms:

  • Blurred vision
  • Double vision
  • Dry, red eyes
  • Eye irritation
  • Headaches
  • Neck or back pain

If these symptoms are not treated, they can have a real effect on your work performance.

Is There a Way to Relieve Computer Vision Syndrome?

Making a few simple changes in your work environment can help prevent and improve computer vision symptoms:

  • Cut the glare. Change the lighting around you to reduce glare on the computer screen. If a nearby window is casting glare on your screen, move the monitor and close the shades until the glare disappears. Ask your employer to install a dimmer switch for the overhead lights if they're too bright, or buy a desk lamp with a moveable shade that distributes light evenly over your desk. Putting a glare filter over the screen monitor also can help protect your eyes.
  • Rearrange your desk. Researchers find that the optimal position for your computer monitor is slightly below eye level, about 20 to 28 inches away from the face. At that position, you shouldn't have to stretch your neck or strain your eyes to see what's on the screen. Put a stand next to your computer monitor and place any printed materials you're working from on it. Then, you won't have to look up at the screen and back down at the desk while you type.
  • Give your eyes a break. Look away from the screen every 20 minutes or so and either gaze out the window or scan the room for about 20 seconds to rest your eyes. Blink often to keep the eyes moist. If eyes are getting overly dry, try using lubricating eyedrops.
  • Tweak your computer settings. You don't have to live with the factory-installed settings on your computer if you're uncomfortable. Adjust the brightness, contrast, and font size until you find the best settings for your vision.

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