Computer Vision Syndrome: Electronics Take Their Toll on Eye Health

Computer eye syndromeDo your eyes spend more than 4 hours a day looking at the screen of an electronic device? If so, you are at risk for computer vision syndrome. Computer vision syndrome symptoms include eye strain, fatigue, dry eyes and headaches from staring at a screen too long.

Are You at Risk?

To find out if you are at risk, keep a journal for a week of how long you spend watching TV, gazing at a smartphone, surfing the Internet, working on the computer, playing video games, and reading on a tablet device. The typical American youth is getting 7.5 hours of “screen time” a day – and since many adults use computers at work, they may get much more time.

Your eyes are not designed to stare at the same focal length for extended periods of time without a break. We evolved as hunters and gatherers, looking over long distances to identify food sources and looking for danger. Eyes are controlled by muscles, and these muscles must be stretched and exercised to optimize eye health.

On the computer, productivity tends to go down when the eyes are strained. Computer vision syndrome also induces fatigue in the body. Your eyes are directly connected to your overall health.

How to Combat Eye Strain

To combat computer eye strain, start by deciding if you are really getting enjoyment from the time you spend cuddling up with your tablet computer. Would your time be better spent cuddling up with family and friends, taking a long scenic walk, shooting hoops, or bird watching? Most smartphones have a geocaching app that gets you outside, hunt for treasure and stretch your eyes.

Make sure your computer workstation is set up to reduce eye strain. Install a computer program that reminds you to stand up, stretch, take at least 4 steps and look out the window at a distance for at least 20 seconds. Do exercises such as these 5 eye exercises designed to reduce eye fatigue at the computer.

You do not have to be a victim of computer vision syndrome. Take charge of your health, reduce headaches and increase your productivity by using your eyes the way they were designed to be used.