Prolonged time in front of the screen can cause eye problems
If you spend a lot of time in front of the computer each day, you may find yourself experiencing trouble with your eyes. The good news is, the common eye problems associated with prolonged computer use can be corrected, says Rishi Singh, MD, an ophthalmologist at the Cole Eye Institute.
“When people use computers, they don’t tend to blink on a normal basis and thus may develop dryness of their eye,” says Dr. Singh. “Also, because they’re using their lenses to focus on near objects, they end up with something called computer vision syndrome (CVS).” This means that their lens stays in the near vision position, causing distance vision to become slightly blurred.
Dr. Singh recommends the following:
- Position the computer so it is at eye level
- Take breaks that involve moving away from the work station, stretching or walking
- Prevent eye strain by tilting the monitor to reduce glare and by adjusting the brightness of the screen
- Prevent CVS by looking away from the screen periodically and focusing on objects that are farther away
But if you are in front of the computer a lot and need glasses, Dr. Singh says you can get fitted for a pair designed for computer use.
“Patients who wear reading glasses on a regular basis typically like a pair of glasses that’s properly powered for reading computer screens,” Dr. Singh says. “The prescription is different because of the distance the eyes are kept from the computer screen versus the distance the eyes are kept from normal reading material. Typically, computer screens are kept farther away and therefore require less power in the glasses.”
Dr. Singh recommends an annual exam with an ophthalmologist. He says that’s the only way to make sure there isn’t an underlying condition causing your vision problems.
There are no long-term studies to show any lasting side effects from using computer screens, he says.
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