Computer Vision Syndrome: Eye Strain Caused By Prolonged Screen Viewing

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Computers have become an integral part of everyone’s life. They have made things so much fast and simple but have brought with them new problems related to the eyes. These problems affect all those who spend a significant time working on the computers everyday. However, these computer related eye problems are mostly due to our own wrong habits. I call this cluster of problems e-pain (which may mean electronic / eye pain) which is also called Computer Vision Syndrome.


What are the problems?

  •  Pain
  •  Redness
  • Watering
  •  Headache
  •  Fatigue
  •  Irritability
  •  Poor Concentration

Pain and eye strain being so common among the computer users that it would be appropriate to call this cluster of computer related eye problems: e-Pain.

What causes these problems?

An understanding of what causes these symptoms can help us take appropriate preventive steps. It is important to know that computer monitors do not emit any harmful rays or radiations (monochrome or color). The causes of the trouble are:

  •  Constantly gazing at a near distance (at the monitor)
  •  Decreased rate of blinking

Convergence Fatigue:

When we look at a near object both our eyes move towards each other (converge) to fixate at the target. Prolonged viewing of the monitor at close distance leads to fatigue of convergence and its weakness / insufficiency. This consequently leads to eye strain, pain and headache.

Also read: Children’s Eye Health And Safety Month: 5 Ways To Protect Your Child’s Eyes

Infrequent Blinking:

Decreased rate of blinking while working on computers leads to instability of the tear film of the eyes. This leads to feeling of dryness, irritation, redness and a reflex watering from the eyes.

What is the solution?

There is no single magic remedy for this problem. Following set of measures can be undertaken together to get relief:

Proper Visual Hygiene:

  • Monitor should be placed about 2-3 feet from the eyes (or at the farthest comfortable distance).
  •  Do not gaze constantly at the monitor for long duration. Take your eyes off the screen every 5-10 minutes.
  •  Every half an hour or so close your eyes for 1-2 minutes to give them rest.
  •  Every hour or so take a 5 minutes break (go for a stroll or run some errand).
  •  Make a conscious effort to blink more frequently. Avoid sitting in front of an air conditioner facing its air draft while working on computer.
  • Convergence Exercises
  • Regular eye exercise can help prevent the problems caused by working on computers or even heavy reading or writing work. These exercises are advised for all computer professionals, students, office workers, etc.
  • Sit on a chair upright and look at a far off small object.
  •  Then hold out a pen at level with your eyes at an arm’s length and look at its tip.

 Gradually bring the pen close to your eyes to a point where you feel a mild strain on your eyes. The tip of the pen should remain clear and single in appearance. Hold the pen in this position for about half a minute and then again gradually take it back to an arms length. Hold it here again for about half a minute, and then again bring the pen close to your eyes.