In the digitized world, computers and smart phones have become a part and parcel of lives, either as part of work, study or leisure. This has in turn brought in a peculiar problem of eye strain. Computer eye strain has become one of the major job-related complaints and studies show that eye related strain and other bothersome visual symptoms occur in 50 to 90 % of computer workers. The problems range from physical fatigue to decreased productivity and increased number of work errors to minor annoyances like red eye and eye twitching. Working adults are not the only ones who are getting affected but children too. Staring at tablets, television, mobile etc. for long duration in peculiar postures coupled with poor lighting conditions lead to such eye strain in children.

Why is computer affecting the eyes?

Viewing the digital screen is different from reading a book or paper. When you work on the computer, your eyes tend to focus and refocus on the changing images all the time which requires many eye muscles to work. To make it worse, here are some things that add to the discomfort.

  • Working in a posture for 3 to 4 hours at a stretch
  • Glare from the screen
  • Inadequate lighting
  • Not blinking eyes regularly
  • Improper distance and angel from head to the screen
  • Not wearing glasses when there is refractive error
  • Convergence insufficiency

You are more likely to have problems if you already have an eye problem and do not wear glasses regularly or use the wrong prescription for computer use. Inadequate sleep, unhealthy food, and tobacco smoking can worsen the condition.

What are the symptoms?

  • Headache
  • Dry eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Double vision
  • Red eyes
  • Eye irritation
  • Neck and back pain

Most of the symptoms are temporary and will subside once you stop using the computer or digital device for long. Many may still experience symptoms even after stopping work and this may affect the quality of life.

How can this be treated ?

Here are some simple changes that you can incorporate to improve the symptoms and prevent new problems from coming up

1) Get your eyes checked regularly: Visit your Eye care hospital in Chennai regularly and get examined. Update your prescriptions from time to time with regular check up. If you have kids, get them checked too.

2) Arrange your desk: Computer screen must be 15 to 20 degrees below eye level as measured from the centre of the screen and at least about 20 inches from the eyes.

3) Illumination: The light should not be too dim or too bright. Make sure you position the computer screen to avoid the glare from windows and from overhead lights.

4) Give your eyes a break: Make sure you follow a regime of turning your eyes away from the screen every 20 minutes and look at something around 20 feet away for about 20 seconds.This is called the 20-20-20 rule.

5) Blink your eyes frequently: Staring leads to dryness. Blinking keeps your eyes moist. Blink frequently when you are using the computer.

6) If you have convergence insufficiency, you need to do the prescribed exercises regularly to improve the convergence

In spite of following the above changes, if you still face recurrent symptoms of computer vision syndrome; you can contact our panel of eye specialists at DRR Eye Hospital. Our doctors will do a detailed examination and advise you the treatment accordingly.