Computer Vision Syndrome: blink and give relief to your eyes

If you spend most of your working hours staring at a computer screen,read on.

Written by Vidya Krishnan | New Delhi | Published:March 2, 2009 2:49 am

If you spend most of your working hours staring at a computer screen,read on. According to doctors,the working population,especially the urban youth,is involved in its work to such an extent that it has forgotten to blink,leading to a rise in Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS).

CVS is a temporary condition caused when you focus your eyes on the computer display in a sustained fashion for long periods of time. Experts say looking at the computer screen for long periods at a time can tire the eyes easily and people may have difficulty in focusing.

“A lot of people suffer from CVS without knowing it. Besides the fact that people don’t blink as much as they should,what aggravates the condition is bad lighting. People who spend a lot of their time looking at a computer screen must ensure the screen contrast is not too bright and the lighting is good,” Dr K P S Malik,head of Ophthalmology at Safdarjung Hospital,said.

This condition can be further aggravated by improper lighting conditions,improper air conditioning,etc. “Though CVS does not cause any permanent damage,it is not advisable strain your eye muscles constantly,” Malik said.

Attributing the IT boom for the surge in cases of CVS,experts say the symptomatic disease is quite common among the urban youth. “People,especially those working in the BPO industry,have headaches and blurred vision because they don’t care for their eyes. Due to lack of awareness,the numbers are constantly increasing,” Dr J S Titiyal,professor of Ophthalmology at the Dr Rajendra Prasad Centre in AIIMS,said.

While the normal blink rate for humans is 16-20 blinks per minute,studies have established the blink rate significantly reduces when a person is glued to the computer screen. The blink rate reduces to as low as 6-8 blinks per minute,leading to ‘dry eyes’.

A treatment commonly suggested by doctors is the conscious blinking of the eyes every now and then to help replenish the tear film and to look at a distant object,as doing so provides rest to the ciliary muscles. The ‘20-20-20 rule’ suggests that every 20 minutes,you should focus your eyes on an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

Symptoms
* Headaches,blurred vision,neck pain,fatigue,eye strain,dry and irritated eyes,difficulty in refocussing the eyes
Precautions
* The computer screen should never be higher than your eye level
* The screen should not reflect light and it’s always better to have an anti-reflective screen
* The contrast of the computer screen should be low
* Those using computers for long periods must consciously blink often
* To lubricate your eyes,use artificial tears

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