The daily use of computers increases the risk of eye-related problems. Add to that smartphone addiction, and you have the perfect recipe for dry eye disease, digital eye strain and, our focus today, computer vision syndrome (CVS).
Although CVS doesn’t cause permanent damage to your eyes, its painful symptoms can affect your performance in the workplace and at home. To say nothing of the constant irritation and discomfort you may experience.
That said, with a few home remedies and preventive measures, you can combat CVS. Let’s take a closer look at what computer vision syndrome is, the symptoms associated with it, its causes, risk factors, and how you can treat it.
What Is Computer Vision Syndrome Exactly?
Computer vision syndrome is an eye-related issue caused by prolonged exposure to digital screens. It causes mild to severe vision problems and affects nearly 60 million people globally.
Your computer, tablet, smartphone, and other digital devices put a lot of strain on your eyes. This happens because when you use them, your eyes follow the same path over and over again.
That is, they focus and refocus all the time. This strains eye muscles and leads to fatigue. The longer this continues, the worse your CVS gets.
What’s more, working adults are not the only ones affected by CVS. Often, kids staring at tablets and laptops at school also show symptoms of CVS.
Symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome
Computer eyestrain symptoms can manifest themselves in many ways. But they are easy to recognize. You will have dry eyes, itchiness, eye pain, or all of these at once.
Look out for these digital eye strain symptoms:
- Dry eyes
- Itchiness and irritation
- Digital eye strain
- Red eyes or tearing
- Eye pain
- Neck or backaches
- Blurred or double vision
- Eye muscle fatigue
Causes of Computer Vision Syndrome
Looking at computers all day, at home and at work, leads over time to computer vision syndrome. When you use computers or other digital devices for a prolonged period, your eyes are constantly strained.
The text and visuals on digital screens are pixelated and have jagged edges, unlike those on a printed page. To make things worse, you also have to deal with glare and flicker on your devices.
What’s more, a study shows that your blink rate goes down while you’re using a computer. More of your blinks become incomplete. This leads to a plethora of CVS symptoms like dry eyes and blurry vision.
Computer Vision Syndrome Risk Factors
There are certain risk factors that can trigger and even worsen CVS. These include:
- Poor posture while working on a digital device
- Dim lighting
- Glare or reflection on the screen
- Uncorrected vision issues like nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism
- Improper workstation set-up
- Wrong viewing distance or angle
- Incorrect prescription eyeglasses
Computer Vision Syndrome Treatment
Although computer vision syndrome comes with an array of painful symptoms, there are several things you can do to treat or prevent it. For instance, you can adjust your computer screen, cut the glare, massage your eyes, and improve your posture.
1. Adjust Your Computer
The best position for your computer is slightly below your eye level. You shouldn’t have to stretch your neck upward or downward to see the screen. You can also tilt back the screen 10 to 20 degrees.
Furthermore, ensure that the screen is 20 to 28 inches away from your face. It doesn’t hurt to actually measure the distance. Sitting too close to your computer screen can increase the risk of eye strain.
Tip: For a more eye-friendly approach, increase the font size, contrast, and brightness on your device.
2. Cut the Glare
Light from a nearby window or an overhead bulb can cause glare on your screen. This makes your eyes work harder and results in eye strain. The solution? Cut the glare by:
- Closing all shades or curtains to minimize screen glare
- Dimming overhead lights
- Using lower wattage light bulbs
- Adding a glare filter to your digital screen
- Positioning your screen in a different direction
3. Blink Frequently
Blinking frequently and consciously can help a lot in treating CVS. The average blink rate is about 20 times per minute. But this can drop to about 7 times per minute while you’re working on a computer, using your smartphone, or watching TV.
Blinking will spread healthy tears over the surface of your eyes. This will keep your eyes moistened and prevent dry eye and irritation.
Tip: Can’t remember to blink? Post a sticky note that says “BLINK” on the wall in front of your workstation. That will do the trick!
4. Massage Your Eyes
An acupressure massage around your eyes is a simple yet effective home remedy for eye pain due to computer overuse.
Gently apply pressure to your eyelids, eyebrows, and temples. Massage them in a circular motion for a few minutes. You can do this one eye at a time.
Massaging will increase the blood flow around your eyes. What’s more, the warmth of your hands will melt any clogged oils in your glands and keep your eyes well-lubricated.
5. Take Regular Eye Breaks
For every 20 minutes that you spend in front of a digital screen, take a quick eye break by looking away. Keeping your eyes glued to screens for a long time is the root cause of CVS.
A simple trick is the 20-20-20 method. Every 20 minutes, look 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This might not seem like a lot, but by the end of the day, your eyes will feel better rested and less strained.
6. Try Eye Exercises
Several eye exercises can help with computer vision syndrome prevention. These are easy to get started with and you can do them anywhere.
- Palming – Rub your hands together for a few seconds until they feel warm. Now, close your eyes and place your palms over them. This exercise will soothe your eyes and relieve any strain or dryness.
- Eye rolling – Another exercise for computer vision syndrome is eye rolling. Start by rolling up your eyes to the sky. Keep them fixed for a while and slowly bring them down to the ground.
- Zooming – Hold your arm straight and put your thumb in front of you. Focus on it as you slowly bring it closer to your eyes. Pause for a few minutes. Then take it farther from your eyes while still focusing.
Tip: We've written an entire post on eye exercises and whether they really work. Check it out.
7. Maintain Good Posture
Poor posture will not just give you a neck ache or backache, it will also increase your risk of CVS. That’s why it’s essential to design your workspace in a way that helps maintain good posture.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind for good posture:
- Position your computer or laptop screen below eye level
- Use a chair with the right height so your feet remain flat on the floor
- Ensure that your chair has good back support
- Sit up straight and keep your shoulders relaxed
8. Tweak Your Device Settings
You don’t have to stick with factory-installed settings on your devices. Adjusting certain settings can help in the treatment of computer vision syndrome.
- Brightness – Adjust the display brightness so it’s roughly the same as the brightness around your workstation.
- Text size – Increase the text size so you can comfortably read it 20 to 30 inches from the screen.
- Contrast – Increase the contrast, especially if you have to read or write for long periods. Use black print on a white background for comfort.
- Color temperature – Switch on the night shift or warm mode on your devices as you approach bedtime. This will relax your eyes by limiting blue light exposure.
9. Limit Your Screen Time
You don’t have to completely give up your screen time, you only need to limit it. This small step can make a big difference if you’re experiencing a blurry vision from computer overuse.
Try to set certain rules. For instance, make sure to get away from your computer a couple of hours before bedtime. Also, don’t pick up your smartphone the moment you shut down the computer.
You can discover more tips on limiting screen time in our post on 11 ways to reduce screen time.
Tip: Creating a screen-free bedroom is a great way to limit your screen time. That means no laptop, computer, tablet, smartphone, or TV allowed inside.
10. Get Your Eyes Checked
Uncorrected vision issues will increase your risk of CVS and eye strain. So will outdated prescription glasses and contact lenses. It’s best to visit your eye doctor regularly to keep your prescriptions up to date.
Your eye doctor will check if you need a pair of glasses or contact lenses. They will also ensure that your current prescription is right.
Eye exams are easy and painless, so it's good to take them often. We've devoted a post to just how often you should get an eye exam.
What about glasses to protect eyes from computer screen – do they work? They block blue light from reaching your eyes, but according to research, they may not improve symptoms of digital eye strain.
11. Take an Eye Health Supplement
Another way to keep your eyes healthy in the digital age is to take an eye health supplement like the Blueberry Gummies.
Blueberry Gummies have antioxidants, lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamins C, K, E, and B6, minerals like copper, manganese, potassium, and other nutrients that work together to replenish and protect your eyes from oxidative stress and free radicals.
Made with Canadian blueberries, and sweetened with Monk fruit, a zero-calorie, diabetes-friendly sweetener with antioxidant properties, Blueberry Gummies are delicious and easy to take wherever you are—at home, at work, traveling, or on the go.
Customers who have tried Blueberry Gummies found that it helped them reduce digital strain. Here’s what one customer had to say in her Blueberry Gummies review:
“Excellent product. It’s not an overnight fix. Baby steps and trust in the product. The product does work! Less fatigue when working on the computer. Love the product will order again! And the gummies are so yummy! Thank you Kathy and team!” – Jacquie Chamberlin
Keep your eyes healthy with the Blueberry Gummies.
The Bottom Line
If your job requires you to spend the better part of your day in front of a computer, you’re probably all too familiar with computer vision syndrome.
It comes with a whole range of symptoms, from eye strain to dryness. And while you cannot entirely break free from digital devices, there are plenty of things you can do to combat computer vision syndrome symptoms.
Quick and simple home remedies like massaging your eyes, doing eye exercises, limiting your screen time, and taking regular eye breaks can help.
You can also get your eyes checked to keep your prescriptions up to date and correct any vision issues.
And don't forget that an eye health supplement like Blueberry Gummies can also help.Finally, all you need to do is give your eyes proper rest. This will help you break free from CVS and the painful symptoms it comes with.