Eyestrain is a general term used to describe the symptoms caused by overuse and fatigue of the eye muscles. Eyestrain is typically associated with prolonged periods of close work, reading, computer usage and watching television. Symptoms of eyestrain can include tired, red eyes, headaches, loss of concentration and loss of focus.
Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS)
Computer Vision Syndrome is a term used to describe the effects of prolonged periods of computer use on the eyes and the muscles of the upper torso. Symptoms include eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision, dry eyes and neck, shoulder and lower back pain.
Symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome may vary from mild to severe depending on the amount of time spent on the computer, a person’s visual abilities and posture, as well as workstation ergonomics. Uncorrected focussing weaknesses, poor lighting and decreased blink rate will also contribute to the severity of Computer Vision Syndrome.
Ten Tips to Avoid Eyestrain and Computer Vision Syndrome
- Have regular eye examinations to identify any focussing or eye muscle control problems.
- Wear professionally prescribed spectacles for near and computer usage if recommended by your optometrist.
- Good even lighting is essential. Avoid direct glare and the reflected glare from the computer monitor.
- Remember to blink regularly as close work and computer work tends to suppress the natural blink reflex.
- Follow the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, spend at least 20 seconds looking at something 20 feet (6 metres) away.
- Arrange your workstation to be as ergonomically correct as possible. Adjust the heights of your monitor and chair to reduce fatigue, so that your monitor is 55-75cm from your eye. The centre of the monitor should be 10-15° below eye level for comfortable positioning of head and neck.
- Sit so your head and neck are upright and in line with your torso, not bent down or tilted back. Keep elbows comfortably close to your body. Keep mouse and keyboard close together and within easy reach to avoid unnecessary reaching.
- Face your monitor directly. Avoid viewing your monitor with your head turned or your back twisted.
- Use a chair that provides good support for your lower back and has a cushioned seat
- Use a document holder to position documents at the same height and distance as your monitor.