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COMPUTER VISION SYNDROME (CVS)

Our doctors at Artisan Optics specialize in Computer Vision Syndrome.  With their advanced training, and our access to computer engineered and ergonomically designed computer lenses - we provide the specialized care you need.

 

Computer Vision SyndromeComputer Vision Syndrome describes a group of eye and vision-related problems that result from prolonged computer use.  
 

82% of Americans frequently work with a computer or a handheld device, such as a PDA. Supporting this, a recent Omnibus survey showed that 42% of respondents spend three or more hours a day in front of a computer or handheld device. Additionally, 78% of Americans do not have their computer monitor positioned at the correct height - below eye level.

 

Viewing a computer screen often makes the eyes work harder.  As a result, the unique characteristics and high visual demands of computer viewing make many individuals susceptible to the development of vision-related symptoms.

Viewing a computer screen is different than reading a printed page.  Often the letters on the computer screen are not as precise or sharply defined, 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.

Viewing distances and angles used for computer work are also often different from those commonly used for other reading or writing tasks.  As a result, the eye focusing and eye movement requirements for computer viewing can place additional demands on the visual system.Computer Vision Syndrome

Even people who have an eyeglass or contact lens prescription may find it's not suitable for the specific viewing distances of their computer screen.  Some people tilt their heads at odd angles because their glasses aren't designed for looking at a computer.  Or they bend toward the screen in order to see it clearly.  Their postures can result in muscle spasms or pain in the neck, shoulder or back.

The most common symptoms associated with Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) are:

  • eyestrain
  • headaches
  • blurred vision
  • dry eyes
  • neck, shoulder and back pain

Effects of the Work Environment
Computer work places various demands on the visual system.  Each of these factors can play a part in Computer Vision Syndrome:

  • Screen resolution - Better resolution offers greater clarity and usually leads to improved comfort.  Adjust the resolution to the highest resolution your monitor will support.  If the increased screen resolution makes items too small, try increasing the font size (DPI) to compensate.
  • Screen contrast - Adjust the contrast between the characters on the monitor and the background so the letters are easily read.  Adjust the brightness of the monitor to an intensity that is comfortable to your eyes -- not too bright and not too dim.  Adjust both brightness and contrast for the best clarity.
  • Screen glare and reflections - Minimize reflected glare on your monitor by using window treatments, dimmer switches on lights, glare reduction filters on the monitor, and anti-glare treatments on your spectacle lenses.  Proper adjustment should eliminate any reflected images from the monitor screen.  To reduce glare, eliminate bright light sources from your peripheral vision and position your monitor perpendicular to windows or bright light sources.
  • Image refresh rates and flicker - A higher refresh rate for your monitor is best.  The image on the screen should not flicker at all.  (This is not a concern with LCDs).
  • Working distances and angles - It is important to work at a distance that is comfortable for you and where the image on the screen is clear.  Having to move your head to an awkward angle to see the screen clearly suggests that your prescription may need adjustment or you would benefit from using occupational lenses prescribed specifically for computer use.
  • General eyeglass prescription may not be adequate - Computers are usually further and higher than a typical reading task.  Glasses for most people weraing bifocals are not adjusted for computer screen distance or angle and therefore often are not adequate for using the computer.
  • Repetitive and stressful tasks - Difficult tasks are challenging.  Don't forget to take occasional breaks and let the eyes look away while resting.

     

Tips for Healthy, Comfortable Vision at the Computer
While decreasing time spent at a computer may not be an option, there are ways to maximize healthy vision for comfortable use of the computer.

  • Have a dilated, comprehensive eye exam to ensure your eyes are healthy and that you have the correct eyeglass or contact lens prescription (if necessary).  Be certain to tell your optometrist about the computer work you do.
  • Wear glasses that are specifically designed to function comfortably at the computer.  The lenses you wear for day-to-day actvities may  not be the best for working at the computer.
  • Periodically rest the eyes
  • Blink forcefully
  • Use a humidifier
  • Instill artificial tears as recommended by your eye doctor

Workstation Setup for Comfortable Computer Use

  • Feet should be flat on the floor (or on a slightly angled foot rest) with knees bent close to or greater than 90 degrees.
  • Chair seat should support the legs without excessive pressure on the back of the thighs.
  • The back should be snug against the seat to fit your spinal contour.  Thigh-to-trunk angle should be 90 degrees or greater.
  • Wrists and hands should extend nearly straight from the elbow to the home row of the keyboard.
  • A commonly preferred work surface height for keyboard use is about 26" as opposed to the conventional 29" of most tables or desks.
  • Place the monitor 20" - 26" from your eyes, depending on the size of the monitor and individual vision conditions.
  • The monitor and keyboard should be straight ahead.
  • The top of the monitor should be slightly below horizontal eye level.  Tilt the top of the monitor away from you at a 10 degree to 20 degree angle.  The center of the monitor should be 10 degrees to 20 degrees below you eyes.  This is 4" - 9" below your eyes at a distance of 24".
  • Keep the monitor free of fingerprints and dust.  Both can reduce clarity.
  • Place document holders close to the screen within the same viewing distance.  Keep the keyboard and monitor in line.
  • Adjust the keyboard tilt angle so that wrists are straight.

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