Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Protecting Your Precious Eyes

With the increased use of computers and other electronic devices, it’s crucial to protect your eyes from the negative effects these devices may have. Whether you spend only an hour a day on a computer, or have a family member who is glued to an electronic device, it’s important to be aware of the special needs of your precious eyes.

What is Computer Vision Syndrome?

According to the American Optometric Association, CVS is a term that encompasses eye and vision-related problems associated with prolonged computer use. It can apply to cell phones and other electronic devices, too.

The most common symptoms of CVS are:

Blurred vision
Dry eyes
Neck and shoulder pain

What factors contribute to the symptoms of CVS?

Poor lighting
Glare on a computer or electronic device screen
Improper viewing distance
Poor seating posture
Uncorrected vision problems
A combination of causes

Why is staring at a computer screen or other device difficult on eyes?

In general, eyes work harder when viewing electronic devices than reading a printed page due to the unique characteristics of the screen and the high visual demands of viewing it. Letters on an electronic device are often not as precise or sharply defined as those on a printed page. In addition, 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.

How is CVS diagnosed?

A comprehensive eye exam, including an eyesight test.
A patient history.
Other specific tests as needed, including those to check measurements and how the eyes are focusing.

If you’re diagnosed with CVS, how is your overall vision affected?

Typically, most symptoms of CVS are temporary and will decline or stop completely after cutting back on or alleviating computer work. In rare instances, eye symptoms continue to worsen over time.

How can you protect your eyes from electronic devices?

Control the lightning and glare on your computer or electronic device screens. Consider a computer screen eye protector, if necessary.
Maintain the appropriate posture when using a computer or other device.
Establish a proper working distance from any electronic screen.

What are the recommendations for preventing or alleviating CVS?

Location of computer screen. Your eyes should be looking downward, approximately 4-5 inches below eye level.
Reference materials.  Placing reference materials beside your monitor usually works best. Refrain from moving your head back and forth from document to screen.
Lighting. Avoid glare from lighting and windows.
Seating. Use a comfortable chair, with feet flat on the floor. Your wrists should not rest on the keyboard.
Rest. For every two hours of computer work, rest your eyes for 15 minutes. In addition, for every 20 minutes of computer viewing, look into the distance to refocus eyes for a few minutes.
Blink. Help minimize dry eye by blinking as you work. Blinking keeps the front surface of your eye moist, which helps to alleviate this symptom.

What else do you need to know?

Special glasses for computer use are sometimes necessary. Even individuals who have an eyeglass or contact lens prescription may find it's not suitable for their computer requirements. Your eye care professional will work with you to determine your specific needs.

Sometimes vision therapy, also called visual training, might be necessary. This therapy is a series of eye exercises that assist the eyes and brain in working together more effectively.

Be Wize & Be Healthy,

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