I have a lot of patients who come in with complaints of eye strain while on the computer, while at work and home.
This is a condition referred to as Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS).
What causes CVS?
1) Need glasses? Uncorrected refractive error (see: All Kinds of Blurry) can make viewing the computer monitor very uncomfortable.
2) Looking at a computer monitor requires the focusing system inside our eyes to work constantly. Essentially fatiguing the tiny muscles inside our eyes.
3) Reflections from the screen can make it difficult for our eyes to focus accurately, thus causing our eyes to work harder.
4) Incorrect viewing angle can force the muscles on the outside of our eyes to work harder and fatigue.
5) People tend to blink less when at the computer. This leads to dry eyes.
What can be done?
1) First and foremost, get an eye exam. Even if you don't need glasses for other things in life, a simple pair of computer glasses may cure all woes.
2) Take breaks!! Remember 20/20/20. Every 20 minutes, look into the distance (at least 20 feet away) for at least 20 seconds. This will help relax your eyes.
3) Screen protectors are useful. Also, anti-reflective coatings on glasses are very helpful.
4) Ergonomics! Our eyes are most comfortable when looking slightly downward. There are very detailed workplace guidlines available for positioning and posture at the computer. The American Optometric Association recommends that the center of the monitor should be approximately 15-20 degrees below eye level.
5) Blink more. Make a conscious effort. Also, using artificial tears can help moisturize your eyes. Remember our last discussion on Visine. Always best to ask your eye care professional which drops are best for you.