The eyes have it – strain, that is. As our enthusiasm for using computers, tablets and phones grows, our eyes are paying the price.
Upward of 90 percent of computer and device users experience a problem so common there’s a name for it: computer vision syndrome (CVS). CVS comes with symptoms such as decreased or blurred vision, burning or stinging eyes, sensitivity to light, headaches, and back and neck pain.
If these symptoms affect you, check out these tips from Dr. Rishi Singh, a specialist with the Cleveland Clinic Cole Eye Institute, to ease the strain and avoid the pain:
1. Adjust your viewing angle
The angle of your gaze plays a key role in CVS. For the best angle, the center of the monitor, tablet or phone should be 20 to 28 inches from your eyes and 4 to 5 inches below eye level. If you’re looking back and forth between a screen and reference materials, keep those materials where you can see them with minimal head movement.
2. Reduce glare
Letters on a screen are not as clear as letters on a printed page. Too little contrast between letters and background or glare on the screen makes your eyes work harder. The result: sensitivity to light. Position your screen to avoid glare from overhead lights or windows. Close the blinds on your windows or switch to lower-watt bulbs in your desk lamp. If you can’t change the lighting to minimize glare, buy a glare filter for your screen.
3. Rest your eyes
When using a computer or device for an extended period of time, take regular breaks to prevent eyestrain. Every 20 minutes, look away from your computer and look at a distant object for 20 seconds. This will give your eyes a chance to refocus. After two hours of continual computer use, rest your eyes for 15 minutes.
4. Blink often
People normally blink about 18 times a minute, but computer users tend to blink only one-fourth as often. This increases the chance of developing dry eye. To reduce this risk, remind yourself to blink more often. And refresh your eyes periodically with lubricating eye drops.