Glowing screens, overhead light, rampant LED, unprotected eyes—there are many ways you might develop computer vision syndrome. Eye strain, fatigue, and blurriness are just a few ways long hours at the computer can make you suffer:You may not know that your symptoms are actually a diagnosable medical condition.
Let us give you all the facts about computer vision syndrome. Read on to see if you have or are at risk of developing this condition. Then, learn what you can do to treat and prevent computer vision syndrome.
What is computer vision syndrome (CVS)? After long hours of focusing on blue-light screens,CVS causes:
The symptoms of CVS worsen from overhead lighting and air conditioning.An unprotected technological lifestyle gives CVS all it needs to pain your eyes, head, and neck.
If you spend more than three hours a day at a screen, you may be part of the 90% who suffer from CVS. Most Americans spend an average of 8 hours looking at a blue-light screen every day. The prevalence and severity of CVS is immense.
Exposure to blue light can be moderate, intense, and in-between, but it is a necessary hazard in this technological age. In light of that, you may want to know how CVS occurs and develops. Many factors can lead to CVS:
How CVS develops depends on your individual eye health, age, and length of exposure. Still, the cause is always unprotected consumption of blue light.
Blue-light screens make the eyes work harder than they would viewing paper. There is a high visual demand on the eyes which is constant, subtle, and precise. Images on the screen hide behind glare and come in varying sharpness, color, and contrast. These make viewing and focusing difficult for your eyes.
Moreover, you view these features at changing distances, angles, and brightness. Your eyes move, refocus, and strain to keep up. The risk with CVS is simple: the visual demand of blue-light screens outmatches your eyes’ ability to perform.
Some experience CVS as a temporary irritation. It passes with time away from their phones and laptops.
For others, the condition can become permanent and chronic. If you cannot rest or protect your eyes, your visual abilities will continue to weaken.Blurriness, dizziness, and the inability to focus will worsen even if you stop using the screen in some cases.
Without treating unprotected blue light consumption, your symptoms will continue to:
Eye doctors prescribe rest, the 20-20-20 Rule, and night-mode settings to treat CVS pain and discomfort. There are purposeful ways to take breaks at the computer and best-practices for using digital screens. (CVS does not require costly prescriptions or surgery.)
Adequate, uninterrupted sleep can heal the syndrome by giving the eyes time to recover, but sleep can itself suffers from exposure to blue light. Likewise, optometrists recommend additional rest from blue light consumption to treat CVS.
For those who work on a computer, for example, they advise frequent visual breaks. Doctors recommend using these breaks to focus on real, distant objects. A conscious effort to blink and replenish moisture can reduce eye strain as well.
The 20-20-20 Rule
For all those who experience CVS, doctors prescribe the 20-20-20 Rule. This means focusing on an object 20-feet away for a count of 20 seconds after every 20 minutes at a screen.
For example, you might take time to look at the face of a clock across the room after completing a long email. You might take deep breaths while looking around the office between documents. Or, you can simply rest, blink, and look out the window after a gaming round.
Doctors also recommend “night-mode” settings on your screen's display to combat eye strain from blue light. Many devices set these blue-reducing effects after a certain hour of the day.
Try a day using “night-mode” settings during the day as you work at your laptop or browse on your phone. If you feel a difference in your eyes, and you probably will, such settings can be a key method of prevention.
Let’s assume you cannot avoid spending more than three hours at a blue-light screen. It may seem like enough to use the 20-20-20 Rule and “night-mode” settings to cut blue light consumption. Still,the most effective, preventative method for CVS is protective eyewear.
Wearing plus-powered eyeglasses may reduce eye strain by improving your focus on pixelated objects. More importantly, eyewear that blocks blue light prevents and treats this syndrome's symptoms.
Computer glasses can filter 30% of blue light between 400 and 470hm wavelengths and up to 90% of the strongest, most straining wavelengths. Anti-glare coating designed to improve visual acuity and reduce reflections minimizes CVS risk factors. Eyewear that offers UV protection protects the overall health of your eyes during long work days as well as exposure to the sun.
Look for these characteristics of computer eyewear:
CVS causes blurriness, fatigue, and pain on an epidemic level. It affects 90% of people who spend more than three hours on a blue-light screen. The high visual demand that computers, tablets, phones, and even watches place on our eyes is significant. Without long breaks or eyewear, CVS will continue to cause you eye strain, dizziness, headaches, and more.
Blue-blocking eyewear is fast becoming popular for Americans as screen consumption increases in the digital age. Only some brands feature advanced anti-glare and UV-shielding lenses and attractive frames. Getting a pair is the best way to protect yourself from digital eye strain and CVS. Remember to find frames that address risk factors like glare as well as blocking key wavelengths of blue light.
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