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What Is Computer Vision Syndrome?

Computer Vision Syndrome, which is typically acronym-ed to ‘CVS’, is a relatively new term from a medical perspective but as digital devices, mobile phones and computer screens have invaded our homes and workspaces, it has become a term that is more prominently diagnosed and more heavily researched.

The increased use of digital devices has brought about CVS, which is afflicting people who find themselves working and socialising in front of computer screens and mobile devices. While Computer Vision Syndrome isn’t one singular and specific issue, it is a term that explains a combination of eye complaints that revolve around eye strain and optic discomfort.

What Are The Symptoms Of Computer Vision Syndrome?

The symptoms of CVS are wide and varied, as is often the case with eye strain and vision disturbance; but some of the core symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome are:

  • Blurred Vision
  • Double Vision
  • Dry or Red Eyes
  • Eye Irritation (Itchiness) 
  • Headaches
  • Neck or Back Pain

We should bear in mind that many of these symptoms can be causes and signs of other eye concerns, so you should seek out the help and support of a medical professional if you are experiencing one or multiple of the above to get an affirmed diagnosis.

How Can You Treat Computer Vision Syndrome?

Because Computer Vision Syndrome is so new and young, from a medical standpoint; there hasn’t been the same level and depth of research into medications and treatment programs to alleviate the impacts of CVS, when compared to other optical conditions.

That said, the most natural way of treating and resolving Computer Vision Syndrome is to reverse, reduce or abstain from the activities that brought it about in the first place.

If you believe you are suffering from CVS, you should consider taking as many of the following actions as you can without negatively interfering with your work or life generally. 

  • Check the lighting around you
    Sustained glare on your screen can increase your risk of CVS. You should look to eliminate or at the very least reduce the level glare on your screen by taking actions such as; relocating your computer, closing or tilting blinds, and fitting a dimmer switch or a dimming light to reduce the glare.
  • Follow the 20-20-20 rule
    One of the primary causes of CVS is overuse or overexposure to digital devices; to reduce the impact of CVS and eye strain, you should endeavour to apply the 20-20-20 rule. This is to look away from your digital device for a minimum of 20 minutes, and instead look at something that is around 20 feet away for about 20 seconds. This will give your eyes an opportunity to recover short term and alleviate some of the strain.

  • Change your device settings
    You don’t have to live with the factory settings on your digital device, you can tweak and change your device settings to ensure that the device is most supportive of your eye health. Making changes like adjusting your brightness, contrast, and font size will help to reduce negative eye health impacts.

  • Check your workspace
    The best place to situate your computer screen or laptop is slightly below the level of your eye, so that you are looking slightly down as you view your screen; additionally you should aim to have your computer screen, or digital device between 20 and and 28 inches from your face (50cm-70cm). You shouldn’t have to strain your neck, back or eyes to view the screen, and if you find that you are having to do so consider making further changes to your workspace.
  • Visit your optician more regularly
    The more intensively that you use digital devices, the more likely it is that your eyes will change and the quality of your vision will too. If you are working on digital devices or if you find that you are spending significant lengths of time on digital devices from a socialising standpoint, you should ensure that you increase the frequency at which you visit a vision retailer, or a private ophthalmologist's office.

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