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Coping with Computer Vision Syndrome


It’s an increasingly common problem, as more and more jobs require people to spend many hours of their day sitting close to a computer screen. There are three main strategies for dealing with computer vision syndrome and these include improving your ergonomic situation in your workspace, taking strategic breaks from computer usage throughout the day, and buying prescription glasses that are specially designed to make computer reading easier.

Computer Vision Syndrome Symptoms

Let’s start by reviewing the symptoms of computer vision syndrome. If you spend more than two to three hours per day in front of the computer, it’s likely that you experience computer vision syndrome to some extent. Symptoms can include headaches, difficulty focusing, double or blurred vision, eye fatigue, and neck and shoulder pain.

Since words on a computer screen have less contrast and are not as well defined as words in print, such as newspapers and books, it make it harder for the eye to focus and creates eye strain. People also blink fewer times while using a computer leading to dryer eyes, which can cause a burning sensation after hours of ogling that Powerpoint presentation, or report.

Adjust Your Ergonomics

Your computer monitor should be close enough to you that you don’t have to hunch over to comfortably read the text. It should also be adjusted to reduce glare from both indoor and outdoor light sources. Finally, the top of the monitor should be at or nearly at your eye level. In addition to helping your eye comfort, these adjustments can reduce stress in your head, neck, shoulders and back.  To learn more about proper computer ergonomics, visit the Occupational Safety and Health Administration website.

Take Breaks

Computer reading is difficult for your eyes partially because they were not designed for viewing something so close for such extended periods of time. If you take breaks of at least 20 seconds every 20 minutes to focus your eyes on an object in the distance, ideally at least 20 feet away, it should help reduce your eye fatigue.

Using an anti-glare screen or inverting the colors on your monitor may also give your eyes a brief respite but these tricks alone are not sufficient compensation for hours of computer time each day.

Get Computer Reading Glasses

Computer reading glasses are available in any frame style and are covered by some vision plans. Studies even show that computer reading glasses can improve worker productivity. They make it so your eyes don’t have to continually refocus, thereby preventing the eye strain that excessive computer use usually precipitates.


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