Maintaining Healthy Eyes and Vision at Work

Recognizing Workplace Eye Wellness Month, March 2011

Workplace Vision

Do you work at a computer for an extended amount of time during the day? Do you ever experience headaches, neck or shoulder pain, eyestrain, blurred vision or dry eyes?  These are all symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS).

Viewing items on a computer screen often requires your eyes to work harder. The letters on the screen may not be as precise or sharply defined as when reading words printed on paper, and the contrast of the letters to the background may make reading or viewing more difficult. When you focus intently on a computer screen, you may not blink as frequently and your eyes can dry out. Blinking is essential to keeping the surface of the eye moist.

According to the American Optometric Association, the following situations contribute to CVS:

  • Poor seating or posture while working on the computer
  • Improper viewing distance from the computer screen
  • Poor lighting
  • Computer screen glare or screen contrast
  • Uncorrected vision problems, such as farsightedness and astigmatism, inadequate eye focusing or coordination and aging changes of the eyes

The duration of CVS often depends on the length of time spent on the computer and the individual’s own vision problems.  Many symptoms are temporary and disappear after completing computer work. If primary reasons for the symptoms of CVS are not corrected, they may continue to transpire and become more severe with continued computer usage.

Individuals experiencing CVS should take frequent breaks to rest their eyes. Other solutions include:

  • Intentionally blink eyes while doing computer work
  • Use a humidifier to increase moisture in the air
  • Use artificial tears when eyes feel dry
  • Schedule regular comprehensive eye examinations to evaluate eye health and any vision correction needs; ask your eye doctor whether you need glasses or contacts specifically designed for computer usage

If you have experienced computer vision syndrome, what symptoms did you experience? What treatment options have you pursued? – Scott Delisi, Ameritas Group