Heavy Usage Doesn’t Always Mean Computer Vision Syndrome
There’s no denying the increasing use of computers and smart phones has caused added strain to our visual systems. However, just because you’re using these electronic devices more often doesn’t mean you’ll get Computer Vision Syndrome. That is, you won’t get Computer Vision Syndrome if you follow good visual hygiene rules.
Computer eye strain increasing as we do more near work
This point was made to me the other day by Dr. Brandon Begotka of The Vision Therapy Center. We were discussing the amount of information circulating about the eyestrain caused by computer and smart phone usage.
“When you think about the visual demands of people now versus 50 years ago, it’s incredible. We’re doing so much more near work,” he said.
Nevertheless, Dr. Begotka doesn’t believe the increased workload will always result in Computer Vision Syndrome. Many people will use computers and never experience a vision problem.
However, if you neglect the proper viewing habits, he believes even viewing as little as one hour a day can affect you. “Anyone who is using a computer or smart phone regularly and is not using these habits is putting themselves at risk for a binocular vision problem,” Dr. Begotka said.
Recommendations for computer work similar to reading books
Dr. Begotka points out that the recommendations that The Vision Therapy Center has for computer work are similar to what we recommend for reading a book or any other types of near work.
Among many recommendations, a person should be sitting in a chair with feet flat on the floor and legs at a ninety degree angle. Computer screens, iPads, or smart phones should not be viewed while lying down or slumped on a couch.
He also advocates use of the Harmon distance when assessing the distance your eyes should be from the screen (the distance from the big knuckle on your middle finger to the tip of your elbow).
Brightness of the computer screen should be adjusted for comfort: You shouldn’t be squinting, straining or leaning forward to read the text. You should also take breaks every fifteen minutes, pick out an object that’s 20 feet away, and look it and other objects at a similar distance for 20 seconds.
(Photo by Ernest Vikne.)
For a free poster detailing how to avoid computer eye strain (Computer Vision Syndrome), click here!
The Vision Therapy Center has helped over 2,000 people overcome vision problems since 1995, and has Wisconsin vision therapy offices in Brookfield and Madison.