It’s something many people do day in and day out, but staring at a computer screen for eight hours or more can be harmful to your eyes. Take that times an average of 40 years in the workforce and your eyes are could be staring at a screen for roughly 115,000 hours!
The medical community even has a term to describe the headaches, blurred vision and neck and shoulder pain often associated with too much screen time: Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS).
CVS affects 50 to 90 percent of computer workers and leads to an estimated 10 million eye exams each year. There are many factors that contribute to this eye strain, including the tendency to blink half as often when staring at digital devices, undiagnosed vision problems and incorrect prescriptions. A whopping 71 percent of people reporting CVS symptoms wear glasses or contact lenses!
Although CVS isn’t likely to cause permanent eye damage, the symptoms can certainly affect your comfort level and productivity. If you’re experiencing the all-too-common effects of CVS, try these simple fixes to reduce eye strain:
- Position your computer screen about 20 to 26 inches away from your eyes and slightly below eye level.
- Regularly clean dust and fingerprints from your computer screen to avoid issues caused by glare and reflections.
- Follow the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, focus your gaze 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
- Determine if lighting needs to be adjusted using the visor test. Simply look at the monitor, cup your hands over your eyes and see if they immediately feel better to diagnose potential issues.
- Take regular breaks from your computer screen. The added activity is good for your health in more ways than one.
And most importantly, be sure to have your eyes checked regularly. In general, healthy adults should schedule an appointment with their eye doctor at least every two years, and annually after age 60.
Photo credit: Peter Kemmer