What Is Computer Vision Syndrome?
This article is influenced by the modern world. Be it developed or developing countries, there is now easy access to gadgets like mobile phones, tablets, laptops, televisions, desktop computers, and so on. As a direct outcome of this, the incidence of dry eyes is on the rise among the population. What is shocking is it is seen in kids and younger individuals as well. The condition goes by the name of 'computer vision syndrome.'
Many other factors influence the problem of dry eyes like environmental factors, air conditioners, hormonal factors, female sex (related to hormones), chronic medications, any surgery on the eyes, contact lenses, poor hygiene, poor general health systemic diseases, etc. All these are prevalent risk factors for developing dry eyes. But in this article, we will be focussing more on gadgets as a cause of dry eyes.
In this competitive world, classrooms have smartboards, children study on computers, and even homework is given and completed on the computers. As a result, children end up spending prolonged hours in front of a screen. And as if this was not enough, parents hand over their mobile phones to their children in a bid to make them smarter. With the pandemic, computer-based education has become the need of the hour.
Why Should We Worry About Digital Eye Strain?
When we use devices for long hours, our eyes become watery, start feeling tired, may sometimes become red, and there is an increased blinking rate. As a result, the person begins finding it challenging to work continuously and feels tired physically and mentally with increasing severity.
What Causes Digital Eye Strain?
As the name suggests, an essential cause of digital eye strain is using a digital screen daily for a prolonged period.
Some of the factors that can increase the chances of digital eye strain are:
Keeping the digital gadgets very close to the eyes.
Using digital devices in a poor posture.
Persistent exposure to blue light from digital devices.
Keeping the brightness of the digital screen either inadequately or in excess brightness.
Having problems with vision.
Using incorrect prescription glasses.
The following are the other causes of eye strain:
Focusing on specific tasks like reading, driving, etc., for a prolonged time.
Staying in a room that is either overbright or very dim.
What Are the Symptoms of Digital Eye Strain?
The following are the symptoms of digital eye strain:
Dryness in the eyes.
Itchiness in the eyes.
Redness in the eyes.
How to Counteract the Ill Effects Caused by Digital Eye Strain?
The significant precautions to be taken to prevent this syndrome are:
1. Adequate Breaks:
Since a fundamental cause of digital eye strain is persistent exposure to digital devices, taking a break in between can help prevent or reduce it. The following are a few tips to take a break from your strenuous system work:
a. 20-20-20 Rule - Bythis, the person is asked to look at a distant object at a distance of, say, 20 feet for about 20 seconds, every 20 minutes between work. This gives the eyes the needed rest and also enables them to refocus.
b. Non-Screen Tasks - Taking a break implies not shifting to your mobile phones from your desktop work. It means that you should look away from all kinds of digital objects. Try doing some organizing work or paperwork in the meantime.
c. Rest Your Eyes - Continuous usage of digital devices puts pressure on the eyes. Therefore, after every two hours of persistent screen use, give your eyes a break by looking at objects away from your digital screen for at least 20 minutes.
2. Appropriate Posture:
Posture can turn out to be an aggravating factor in terms of digital eye strain. Thus, maintaining a good posture can reduce the chances of getting eye strain.
The below tips should be followed to prevent digital eye strain:
a. The shoulders should be kept in a relaxed position with no forward slouching.
b. Place your computer at a slightly raised position, say about 10 to 20 degrees, so that you do not have to bend or lean forward while working.
c. Sit in an upright position and avoid forward-leaning.
d. Support your spine with the help of a chair by leaning backward.
e. Use chairs that help keep your heels flat on the floor.
3. Limit Screen Glare:
Screen glare increases the eye strain by increasing the need for focusing. Therefore limit screen glare as much as you can.
The following can help limit screen glare:
a. Use dim overhead lights.
b. Close the windows, doors, and curtains.
c. Use low-watt light bulbs.
4. Frequent Blinking:
Dryness of the eyes is an important symptom associated with digital eye strain. This is because staring at a digital screen reduces the usual amount of blinking. The moisture content of the eyes can be retained by blinking the eyes frequently. Therefore, blinking your eyes often can help prevent eye strain.
5. Position the Computer:
Just like your posture, your system's positioning is also essential in preventing digital eye strain. Your system should be placed at a distance of 20 to 28 inches from the eyes. Also, the screen should be placed slightly above eye level, say four to five inches.
6. Use Correct Glasses:
While wearing prescription glasses for any condition, it should be made sure the glasses used are of correct power. Using wrong prescription glasses can also aggravate your digital eye strain.
7. Eye Drops:
When there is visible dryness and itching in your eyes, lubricating eye drops can be used to moisturize your eyes and reduce the symptoms of digital eye strain. Although a few of these eye drops can be availed over-the-counter, getting them after consulting with an ophthalmologist is always advisable.
8. Gently massage your eyes.
Digital eye strain has become one evolving condition that requires adequate preventive measures. Some of the simplest methods can help in reducing the incidence. However, all these measures are helpful only in the early stages of the disease or in preventing it. If you already suffer from severe dry eyes, ensure you consult your ophthalmologist at the earliest to stop its progression.
Frequently Asked Questions