Good Habits for Computer Users

In a world where the average person’s screen time is drastically on the rise, where office workers type away at computers for 8 hours straight and then go home for more of the same, kids spend hours playing online games, and everyone else takes their leisure time to unwind online, eye health is a very important, though often overlooked concern. When spending more than two consecutive hours on a computer, it can be beneficial to adopt healthy habits to counteract the strain this puts on the eyes.

Computer Vision Syndrome

Computer Vision Syndrome, or CVS is an eye strain condition that affects anywhere from 64 to 90 percent of all office workers. That is a hefty percentage! Considering how much of the population works in an office of some type, and those who have gone unreported, makes the number more staggering still. CVS is often characterized by a tired or strained feeling in the eyes after a day (or a few consecutive hours) of computer use. Common symptoms include eye strain, dryness, redness, irritation, blurred or double vision, headaches, and neck or shoulder pain. It is not yet clear whether CVS causes permanent damage. These are serious consequences for an activity that most people don’t even realize is dangerous, but the good news is that it is highly preventable.

Preventing CVS

There are several factors that contribute to CVS, all easily corrected. Uncorrected vision problems, screen glare, dry eyes, poor lighting, poor posture, and improper positioning of the computer mouse, monitor or chair can all exacerbate symptoms of CVS. To avoid these pitfalls, workers should adopt a few good habits.

Have Regular Checkups

Addressing existing problems will help stop others from forming, and likely improve the overall quality of life for the patient. An optometrist can prescribe vision correction and ensure that a prescription is up to date as well as treating other common optical ailments like dry eyes and irritation or redness.

Reposition the Computer

The screen of the computer should be about an arm’s length away from the user, with its center 4 to 8 inches below his or her eye level. The monitor should be directly in front of the user, not off to either side. The keyboard and mouse should be situated so that the wrist is in line with the elbow while in use.

Practice Proper Posture

Sit up straight, lengthening the spine and holding the chin level. The shoulders should be relaxed, but not slumped forward. Feet should be flat on the floor with knees at a 90 degree angle and hips angled downward 90 to 100 degrees. Individuals may need to experiment with their computer chair and desk setup to ensure the most comfortable and healthy position. Good posture will reduce strain on the neck, back and shoulders, as well as projecting confidence and ease.