You may not have heard of digital eye strain (medically known as Computer Vision Syndrome, or CVS), and you wouldn’t be alone – only 1 in 5 adults have heard of the condition, but it’s now the most common computer-related repetitive strain injury.
Caused by ongoing computer use, digital eye strain can result in a number of symptoms including headaches, blurred vision, neck and back ache, dry eyes and general irritation. It’s a common reason for time off work, making it a major concern for businesses as well as individuals, particularly those who use computers for more than two hours per day.
While there are no long-term complications associated with digital eye strain, it can be an uncomfortable and stressful condition, particularly if it affects your ability to work. Luckily, it can be prevented with a few simple steps, even if you’re unable to avoid regular computer use:
Follow the 20/20/20 rule
Every 20 minutes you’re staring at a screen, take 20 seconds to focus on something 20 feet away. This gives your eyes an opportunity to refocus and increases your blinking rate, and has been shown to reduce the frequency of CVS.
Get regular eye tests
If your eyes are having to strain to see the information on a screen, then you’re more likely to experience symptoms associated with digital eye strain. Ensure you get regular eye tests and if you do need corrective lenses, be sure to wear your prescription glasses anytime you’re working with the computer.
Remember to blink!
Using a computer has been shown to reduce how often we blink, which in turn causes dry eyes. Try and remember to blink as often as you can when you’re working at the computer, as it can dramatically reduce symptoms associated with CVS.
Drink plenty of water
As we’ve already discussed, dry eyes can make CVS worse, and as such staying properly hydrated can significantly improve symptoms (as well as benefitting overall health).
Ensure correct screen and seating position
Always try and sit upright when you’re using the computer, and use a chair with adequate back support. Similarly, pay attention to the position of your screen – ideally it should be around 25 inches from your face, and around 15-20 degrees below eye level.