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The majority of people today in offices spend a great deal of their time in front of the computer screen. Once people get home from work, they tend to fire up the home computer and use it for personal reasons. All this computer use leaves a lot of people experiencing what the American Optometric Association refers to as “computer vision syndrome.”

The good news is that there are preventive measures that can be taken to help keep the problems to a minimum.

“We can’t avoid spending a lot of time in front of computer screens, these days. It’s become a part of our everyday lives,” said Dr. Edward Kondrot, founder of the Healing The Eye & Wellness Center, north of Tampa, Fla., and author of three best-selling books, including “10 Essentials to Save Your Sight” (Advantage Media Group, July 2012). “But the same type of stress can also come from watching television, reading, or doing anything that places a long-term strain on our eyes. It is important to do things to help avoid the problem and to keep us from feeling the symptoms.”

Computer vision syndrome has a range of symptoms that include headaches, blurred and double vision, inability to focus, eye strain, neck and shoulder pain, and watery or dry eyes. It can be caused from spending a prolonged period of time putting strain on the eye. Here are some tips to help prevent it:

1. Vitamins and minerals: Antioxidants will help improve the health of the eye and reduce eye strain.

2. Homeopathy: Speak with a practitioner to find a level of therapy that will work for your individual circumstances. One of the most common homeopathic remedies to treat eye strain is Ruta Graveolens. This remedy can greatly reduce the symptoms of eye strain during prolonged computer use.

3. Blinking: To help keep the eyes from becoming dry, try to blink often. This will help to keep the eye surface moist and prevent it from drying out. Try opening and closing your eyes in a slower motion, giving your eye more time to become moistened.

4. Palming: Close your eyes and gently rest the heels of your hands on your cheekbones, covering your eyes with your palms. Imagine and visualize blackness. At the same time, feel your breathing. Breathe deeply, slowly, and evenly, through your nose. The slower you breathe, the better.

5. Increase the light: Not having a light on when you are using the computer (or television) can put more of a strain on your eyes.

6. Check the position: The position of your computer can add to your eye strain. It is important that it is positioned a good distance away, about 20-28 inches from the eye, and that there is no glare. Reposition your computer to provide maximum eye comfort.

7. Take breaks: Even while on the job, it is important to give your eyes a break when using the computer. Ideally, aim for a 15-minute computer break every two hours, and look away from the computer screen for 20 seconds at least every 20 minutes.

“These are all small steps, on their own, but doing them will add up to helping prevent your eyes from straining,” Kondrot said. “The more we can do to prevent problems with our eyes, the better. We need to take proper care of them.”

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