Sight beyond Sight: How to Deal with Computer Vision Syndrome

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Computer Vision Syndrome is a very real, very annoying and at times, a very painful combination of eye problems associated with staring at a computer monitor for extended hours in a day. CVS is more like a band of super-villains (think Sinister Six) that joined forces, using their combined villainous might to beat you down and destroy your eyes. Let’s delve a little deeper into this serious eye problem and figure out creative ways to deal with it.

CVS is for real

More than 90% of computer users suffer from symptoms associated with CVS and they don’t even know it. This isn’t an exaggeration. CVS is like a silent assassin that hits your eyes when you least expect it. Have you ever spent hours upon hours sitting in front of your computer because you had to finish a project for school or a work assignment, only to get severe eyestrain, dry eyes and light sensitivity immediately after? That’s CVS. Other symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome include:

  • Red eyes
  • Burning and itching of the eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Headaches
  • Shoulder and neck pain

Computer Vision Syndrome is akin to a repetitive injury like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, wherein the mantra is always “the more you keep doing it, the worse it gets.” CVS will go away on its own only if and when the activity is stopped. But what if you can’t? What if your job is to sit behind a computer and tap away all day long? What can you do to defend your precious eyes from this onslaught?

Defend your Eyes

The best defense is a good offense. To deal with CVS, you have to go on the offensive. You can’t be passive and let the chips fall where they may. Form your own superhero team to combat the damaging effects of CVS. Just as much as you crave for designer sunglasses during summertime, you should definitely get the best eyewear glasses to take protect your eyes.

The Amazing f.lux

Download and install f.lux. This nifty little app regulates the warmth and brightness of your computer screen, adjusting it depending on sunrise and sunset. When the sun rises, the app makes your screen brighter to work better with your surroundings. When the day ends, your screen will take a more reddish hue that totally relaxes your eyes. Make sure you input where you are in the world, so the program would know what time sunrise and sunset is in your area of the globe. Currently, f.lux only has versions for iOS, Windows, Linux and Mac. For Android users, you can try Twilight.

The Tweak

Tweak your computer’s settings. You don’t have to live with factory settings. Make the necessary adjustments to your systems’ contrast, brightness, font size and even color modes.

Reposition Girl

If your computer is a glare magnet, you need to reposition it away from the source of reflected light. If the culprit is a window, use curtains, a window diffuser or blinds. If you want a view, position your screen sideways from the window and keep on adjusting if there’s still glare. If the culprit is your bright lighting, use a dimmer or get weaker powered lights. It’s also a good idea to buy warmer colored overhead lighting or use a lamp. Ideally, you’ll want to be behind all other light sources, as long as it doesn’t hit your screen and cause glare. Polarized sunglasses are cool and all, but it won’t work indoors. You need special computer glasses for added protection.

Mister 20

Follow the 20-20-20 rule: After 20 minutes, look away from your screen at anything 20 feet from you for 20 seconds. It could be a beautiful co-worker, the parking lot or even your boss. Just don’t be creepy about it. You can download browser add-ons for Chrome and Firefox that remind you to take breaks at intervals you set.

The Incredible Angle Man

It’s all in the viewing angles. You have to be at least 20-28 inches away from your face and you should be looking down on your monitor at all times. The magic number here is 15-20 degrees below eye level, which is roughly 4-5 inches.

The End

Now that you formed your super team to beat Computer Vision Syndrome, you need to follow through with all the changes for continued relief. Remember, there is no treatment for CVS because all of the accompanying problems associated with it are just symptoms that go away with proper eye care and ideal workplace planning.