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Computer Vision Syndrome

As we enter the 21st century, the growing use of computers in the home and office brings with it an increase in health risks, especially for the eyes. One eye problem, called Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS), is afflicting more and more people who find themselves constantly in front of computer screens. While eye health professionals have yet to find CVS as a cause of any permanent eye damage, the pain and discomfort associated with the problem can affect workplace performance or the enjoyment of home activities. With a few preventative measures, however, the symptoms associated with CVS can be easily erased.

Causes of Computer Vision Syndrome

The main causes of Computer Vision Syndrome include an unsuitable environment and the improper use of eyeglasses or contact lenses. To prevent CVS, changes need to be made to improve these conditions.

Computer Vision Syndrome is the name given to eye problems caused by prolonged computer use.

The symptoms of CVS include:

  • Eye irritation (Dry eyes, itchy eyes, red eyes)
  • Blurred vision
  • Headaches
  • Backaches
  • Neck aches
  • Muscle fatigue
Although CVS has not been found to cause any permanent damage to the eyes, its painful symptoms can affect performance at work and at home. Eye health professionals, though, have found several ways to prevent CVS from affecting computer users.

Solutions for Computer Vision Syndrome With a few simple changes, the environmental causes of CVS can be easily eliminated. Some solutions to these environmental causes include:

Reducing glare and harsh reflections on the computer screen by modifying the lighting in the room, closing window shades, changing the contrast or brightness of the screen, or attaching a filter or hood to the monitor. This will not only help eyes focus better, but may also eliminate the need to squint while looking at the screen. The visor test can help determine if the current lighting in the room is a problem. The test is conducted by cupping hands over the eyes like a baseball cap to block the lights while looking at the monitor. If an improvement is immediately noticed, then lighting changes should be made.

Moving the computer screen to improve the comfort of the eyes. The screen should be at or just beyond an arm’s length away (about 20 to 26 inches) to give eyes a comfortable focusing distance. The screen should also stand straight in front of the face instead of off to the side to ease eyestrain. The center of the monitor should be about four to eight inches lower than the eyes to allow the neck to relax and to lessen the exposed surface area of the eye, which will reduce dryness and itching.

Placing reference materials as close to the screen as possible. This will lessen the need to constantly refocus the eyes as well as the need to swing the head back and forth between the materials and the monitor. Using a document holder beside the monitor will minimize head and eye movements and focusing changes, and will decrease muscle fatigue, headaches and eye strain.

Improving posture by using adjustable equipment to reduce strain on the back, neck, shoulders and eyes. Adjust the height of the chair so the knees are bent at a 90-degree angle with the feet flat on the floor or footrest. Sit straight against a backrest with the forearms on armrests and the elbows bent at a 90-degree angle. The keyboard and mouse should be located lower than the elbow and within easy reach of the hands. The head should be tilted slightly down while looking at the center of the computer screen.

Giving the eyes and body frequent breaks from computer work to reduce eye and muscle fatigue. Since prolonged computer use requires a person to sit in the same position for an extended period, taking time out to stand, stretch and look around will not only help muscles, but will also give the eyes a chance to relax. If the opportunity to get up for full breaks is not frequently available, then “mini” breaks will suffice by looking up from the computer into the distance about every 15 minutes. Frequent blinking or the use of eye drops, too, will keep eyes from drying out and feeling itchy.

Finding and improving other problems that may be affecting the eyes, including drafty, dry or dusty air. Try to keep air vents or drafts from blowing into the face and drying out the eyes. Low humidity or fumes in a room can also dry eyes out faster than usual. Dust, too, can irritate eyes as well as accumulate on the computer monitor, which will decrease the sharpness of the screen and may cause eyestrain.

Computer Vision Syndrome along with presbyopia was the reason BIFOCAL BUDDIES were designed. For those people who were lucky enough to have good vision without glasses and are now finding themselves needing glasses to read and to see the computer, BIFOCAL BUDDIES are just perfect. Although regular eye examinations are recommended to determine the health of your eyes, BIFOCAL BUDDIES can be purchased without a prescription. The top portion is for the monitor and the bottom portion is for the keyboard. Wearing BIFOCAL BUDDIES while working at the computer will help eliminate computer vision syndrome. You will need to remove BIFOCAL BUDDIES when you leave the computer for walking around. If you are just starting to need reading glasses or wearing weak OTC reading glasses, the "LITTLE BUDDY" Bifocal Buddy will be just fine for you. If you have been wearing stonger OTC reading glasses then the "BIG BUDDY" will be the computer glasses for you! No eye examination ia needed.

We all need a friend sooner or later!

Everyone knows that reading glasses are a part of life in people with good distance vision. The reason for this is because the lens of the eye becomes harder with age. The muscles that focus the lens work fine. The problem is a gradual hardening of the lens of the eye. This makes it so the lens changes shape less and less as we age. For many people, this means they need help seeing things up close around age forty. The term for this is presbyopia, and it is totally normal. This just happens to be the age which the near vision ability of the eyes is just longer than the length of our arms.

Around age forty, people who do not need glasses to drive will often purchase over the counter reading glasses to help them do near tasks such as reading. Usually, they start with the weakest ones, (about +1.00) and gradually progress to using stronger ones (about +2.50) in their mid-fifties. These glasses work well for a single focal distance, but become problematic when a person has to work at two or more distances. Typically, the readers will work for the computer, but not be strong enough for the keyboard or small print. Conversely, they may be strong enough to read small print, but then the person has to get closer than they want to the computer monitor.

It is for this reason I made Bifocal Buddies available, without prescription, at an affordable cost.

I am an Ophthalmologist who knows the importance of regular eye exams. Nevertheless, I think that an individual with good uncorrected distance vision should be able to buy glasses to help them at near without a prescription. This should even include bifocals. Though glasses like these should satisfy the visual needs of most people age forty and beyond at intermediate and near, it is still good advice to have a regular eye exam about every two years.
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