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Computers Can Be Great For Work, But Not Your Eyes

August 7, 2012

Computer vision issues are ranked number one by OSHA on the list of health-related office complaints. Experts say that CVS is the most prevalent workplace ergonomic issue, affecting an estimated 150 to 200 million Americans, or 90 percent of computer user

By Eola Eyes, Doctors of Optometry

Do you spend more time with your computer than your mate? ‘Think your computer is wreaking havoc on your peepers? There’s an app for that—it’s called vacation. But what about the other 50 weeks a year?

The term “computer vision syndrome” (CVS) describes a group of eye and vision-related problems that result from prolonged computer use. Symptoms of CVS include headaches, tired, dry, or burning eyes, blurred vision, and neck pain. These symptoms may be caused by poor lighting, glare from the computer screen or overhead lighting, poor seating posture, uncorrected vision problems (especially hyperopia, astigmatism, or presbyopia), and/or improper viewing distances.

Computer vision issues are ranked number one by OSHA on the list of health-related office complaints. Experts say that CVS is the most prevalent workplace ergonomic issue, affecting an estimated 150 to 200 million Americans, or 90 percent of computer users who work more than three hours a day on the computer.

If the CVS symptoms sound familiar to you, you’re in the good company of many VIPs of the world whose passion for their work requires long hours at the computer. Viewing a computer screen is different than reading a printed page and usually makes the eyes work harder. Often the letters on the computer screen are not as precise or sharply defined, the level of contrast of the letters to the background is reduced, and the presence of glare and reflections on the screen may make viewing difficult.

So, how can you reduce the symptoms of computer vision syndrome? The American Optometric Association’s web site provides tips on how to improve your workstation for maximum visual comfort. In addition, a computer-specific pair of glasses may be worthwhile, even for those lucky individuals who do not require glasses for other daily activities. For those who already wear glasses or contact lenses and find their current prescription does not provide optimal vision for viewing a computer, ask yourself, “Do I wear the same shoes for the office, the golf course, and a Saturday night out?” Of course not! Just as one pair of shoes can’t meet all of our needs with regard to function or fashion, often one pair of eyeglasses can’t do the trick either.

For adults who normally wear progressive lenses (aka “no line bifocals”) for far, middle, and near vision, a specially designed occupational progressive lens can widen and clarify your view of your computer and desk area and can make a tremendous improvement in your workplace comfort. These lenses require less head and eye movement so you don’t have to tip your head back to see the monitor. You’ll have clearer vision without eyestrain and neck strain, allowing you to concentrate more effectively.

We would be happy to discuss in detail any questions or concerns you have about computer vision syndrome or the lens options we offer, so don’t hesitate to give us a call.

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