Back To Career News

You Probably Have Computer Vision Syndrome. Here’s How to Fight It.

After a long day at the cube farm, are your eyes tired, itchy, and red? Most of us work while staring at a computer screen for hours on end, and we could also be victims of a very real problem: Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS). The good news is there are simple ways you can combat CVS, and it doesn't mean unplugging (completely).

After a long day at the cube farm, are your eyes tired, itchy, and red? Most of us work while staring at a computer screen for hours on end, and we could also be victims of a very real problem: Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS). The good news is there are simple ways you can combat CVS, and it doesn’t mean unplugging (completely).

computervisionsyndrome

(Photo Credit: leasqueaky/Flickr)

The name may seem ridiculous, but CVS is very simply vision problems caused by looking at a computer screen. You might have it if you experience eye strain or pain after looking at your monitor, or even a tablet or portable video game screen, for periods of time. When you’re looking at a screen, your  eyes are making subtle movements to change their focus while you read a spreadsheet, check a report, or if you shift your vision from, say, written notes on your desk, back up to the warm, glowing monitor. 

Do You Know What You're Worth?

Sound familiar? It should. Some number between 64 percent to as many as 90 percent of people who work at a computer screen have at least some vision trouble. And CVS is even more common with those of us who wear contact lenses or glasses as well. So vision problems lead to CVS and CVS leads to vision problems, might as well give up, right? Wrong. Here are some tips to lessen CVS when you just can’t cut the cord (or smash that monitor in the alley).

ron-swanson-computer-throw-out-parks-and-rec

(Photo Credit: Gifrific.com)

Blink Early, Blink Often

Tears! They’re nature’s tears! No really, we need to blink more often to lubricate the eyes while looking at a monitor. And often, we don’t do that enough. Pair a lack of blinking with often dry office environments, and you’ve got trouble. If you need some help with the tears, try using lubricating drops like artificial tears or saline on a regular basis. To combat the dry atmosphere, see if your office can change your cube from the one directly under the air conditioning vent, or if you can install a small desktop humidifier (this one is powered by USB and is shaped like a coffee cup!).

Adjust Your Setup

If you’re working off of a hard copy, try moving it up toward the “business area” of your desk near the monitor. Try one that clips on to your monitor, or a small easel style. Get creative! This is your vision we’re talking about here! You also should check your desk to see that it’s as efficient as possible. Move the keyboard in front of your monitor, not off to the side, so you’re not looking at the screen slantwise. Make sure your seat is the right height for your monitor face, too. Here are a few tips from OSHA and CNet on a good ergonomic desk setup. Your office might also have an ergonomic desk consultant available to check your station. Can’t adjust your seat? Try using something to raise your monitor up. Tip: Reams of office paper make great, sturdy blocks.

Clear the Air, er, Screen

When was the last time you cleaned off that monitor screen? Yep, thought so. Make sure your screen is free of dust that might actually make it harder to focus. Once that’s done, try getting rid of the glare with an anti-glare filter that best fits your monitor size. While we’re inspecting your hardware, is it too bright in here? Make sure the lighting isn’t too harsh (or too dim) over your monitor. If you cup your eyes to make fake binoculars around your face, does it feel better when you look at the screen? If so, try some adjustments in your lighting setup to see what works best for you.

Get Away From it All

When in doubt, leave the screen behind. Try to take breaks every 15 or 20 minutes. This doesn’t mean you walk around looking at your phone screen. Go screenless! Try a walk or go talk to a colleague. Grab a cup of coffee or a piece of fruit. Choose anything that doesn’t involve any kind of screen for a minute or two. Breaks don’t have to be long, but they should still happen regularly. You’ll feel better from your eyes on down.

If you still have trouble after trying some of these tips, seek the help from an optometrist or ophthalmologist.

Tell Us What You Think

Does your computer job seem to affect your vision? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.


3
Leave a Reply

avatar
3 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
2 Comment authors
Felix GrayAlexBruce Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Bruce
Guest
Bruce

Sightlinereaders.com offers a pair of reading glasses that have a mutlifocal multi focus lens. This lens works much better than regular reading glasses for computer users. I cannot recommend them enough.

Felix Gray
Guest
Felix Gray

These are all great suggestions! For professions that require extended periods of time spent in front of the screen (developers, bankers, consultants, designers, etc) there are glasses that greatly reduce the short and long term effects of screen exposure. Visit shopfelixgray.com for more information on this subject!

Great article!

Alex
Guest
Alex

Thank you for these tips. I work in a cubicle every day and have recently noticed more soreness in my eyes. I wouldn’t have thought that cleaning my screen could help protect my eyes. I really should probably do all of these things more, but that is the one that I do the least.
http://arizonaeyes.net

What Am I Worth?

What your skills are worth in the job market is constantly changing.