Squinting at computer, tablet, or mobile screens for hours at a time is a normal part of our lives in the 21st century. Unfortunately, eye problems associated with this activity are also on the rise. Even if you have never had eye problems before, you may have noticed Computer Vision Syndrome symptoms after two or more hours of screen time.
These symptoms include:
- Blurry vision
- Eye strain and discomfort
- Dry, scratchy eyes
- Neck and/or shoulder pain
Even if your symptoms are mild, they can worsen and cause other vision problems if not addressed. Dr. Etting can help with this.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Computer Vision Syndrome
The severity and length of the symptoms are dependent on various factors. How long you stare at the computer, your posture, the lighting, any glare, the angle of the monitor, and whether or not you have other vision problems all affect this. If you already suffer from astigmatism, farsightedness, presbyopia, aging eyes, and/or diabetic eye problems, your Computer Vision Syndrome symptoms may worsen. This can even be the case if you already have prescription contacts or glasses, because many regular eyeglasses and contact lenses are not designed to deflect the problems caused by computer screens.
Dr. Etting will take your symptoms, pre-existing conditions, and any potential undiagnosed conditions into account as he performs the following eye tests:
- Visual acuity—Measures the quality of your current vision.
- Refraction—Tests the potential lens prescriptions that would optimize your vision.
- Focus and Eye Coordination—Tests how well your eyes work together and how quickly and accurately your eyes are able to focus on objects and varying distances.
From these measurements, Dr. Etting can design a treatment plan to help relieve your symptoms. For people with otherwise normal eyes and vision, a set of specially-designed glasses used during the time you are working on the computer can be very helpful. For patients who already wear contacts or glasses, a new set of more computer-friendly prescriptions are available. In addition to these treatment options, there are many things we can suggest in order to cut down on computer eye strain problems:
- Computer setup—Adjust your monitor so that it is about 15-20 degrees lower than your eye level while being seated between 20-28 inches away from the screen. Reference materials can be placed on a document holder between the monitor and keyboard, or to the side, but positioned for as little head movement as possible. Above all, be sure to always sit and work with proper posture.
- Adjust Lighting—If you can, reposition any lighting (or your computer) to minimize glare and use natural lighting whenever possible. If you want, you can choose to invest in an anti-glare screen for your monitor to help reduce glare.
- Eye Rest and Blinking Breaks—Every 20 minutes during your work, look away toward a distant point for 20 seconds to refocus your eyes, and give them a 15-minute break after every 2 hours of screen time. Additionally, since staring at a screen can dry out your eyes very quickly, make sure to blink often so that you can to keep your eyes moist.
With a combination of the proper optometry care and self-care, you can minimize Computer Vision Syndrome and other modern-day vision problems.