Some 100 million American workers are affected by computer eyestrain, a symptom of Computer Vision Syndrome, according to Dr. Elaine Happ, Therapeutic Optometrist
“March is Eye Safety in the Workplace month, and as our nation has moved from a manufacturing society to an information society, Computer Vision Syndrome has become a workplace concern,” Dr. Happ said. “While prolonged computer use will not damage vision, it can make you uncomfortable and decrease productivity.”
Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) is caused by the eyes constantly focusing and refocusing on the characters on a computer screen. These characters don’t have the contrast or well-defined edges like printed words and the eyes’ focus cannot remain fixed. “Symptoms of CVS include headaches, loss of focus, burning or tired eyes, blurred vision and neck or shoulder pain,” Dr. Happ said.
Dr. Happ added that CVS can be partially alleviated by changes in the ergonomics of the work area. “Proper lighting and monitor placement can go a long way toward reducing CVS, as can giving your eyes frequent “breaks” from the computer. But the underlying cause of CVS – the ability of the eyes to focus on the computer screen – may only be remedied by specialized computer glasses.”
A comprehensive eye exam, including questions about a person’s computer use habits is the first step. “If we determine that vision correction for computer use is required, we can prescribe computer lenses that are designed to improve your vision in the 18” – 28” range, the optimal distance between your eyes and the computer monitor, “ Dr. Happ added.
Dr. Happ owns and practices at Uptown Eye Care located at 560 Cedar Street in Monticello, MN and is a member of Vision Source, the nation’s number one network of private practice optometrists. Founded in 1991, The Vision Source network includes more than 2,400 offices in all 50 states and in Canada.