Remember when we were younger, and we had to listen to our parents’ dirge about hurting our eyes from things like reading in the dark or sitting too close to the television?
Welcome to the grown-up version of that.
Technology is becoming more and more prevalent in our lives. With our daily use of computers, our eye muscles are working harder. There’s screen flicker, contrast and glare. We’re forced to focus more – and as a result, blink less. What’s more, as we get older, the lenses of our eyes become less flexible.
Computer Vision Syndrome
Computer Vision Syndrome (aka CVS) is a real thing, although it’s usually temporary and won’t actually harm our eyes (neither did reading in the dark or sitting too close to the TV). Work at the computer or iPad for too long and the CVS symptoms you may get in return include dry eyes, eyestrain, blurred or double vision, redness, irritation and even headaches.
Yup, that’s likely you . . . especially if you use the computer for two or more continuous hours every day.
But, according to the American Optometric Association, there are some people who, though they may stop working at the computer, continue to experience a reduction in their visual abilities (like blurred distance vision). No one wants that.
Does this all mean you need to limit your computer time or ditch the screen altogether?
Not necessarily. There are solutions.
- Have your eye health checked regularly. CVS can be prevalent or made worse if you have uncorrected vision problems.
- Establish proper working distances and posture when working at your computer. The screen should be about an arm’s length away and positioned in front of your face, rather than off to the side.
- Lubricate your eyes. Blink frequently or use eye drops; keep air vents from blowing on your face; and use a humidifier if the air in the room is dry.
- Take regular breaks every 15 minutes or so. Get up, stretch or, at the very least, switch your gaze to a spot in the distance to give your eyes a much-needed break.
- Control lighting and glare on the computer screen.
- Wear computer glasses. Even if you don’t require eyeglasses for everyday activities, you may still benefit from glasses prescribed specifically for computer use, says the American Optometric Association.
Okay, then. Numbers one through four are easy to figure out and easy to follow. But you may be stuck on what to do about numbers five and six. I’ll admit, when it comes to eyesight, it can get a bit confusing (especially for people around our age, who have a common need to correct more than one thing).