Corporate Health & Wellness Specialist – PrognoHealth

Digital eye strain or Computer vision syndrome results from focusing the eyes on a display device such as a computer, cell phone, television, tablet, and e-reader for an uninterrupted prolonged period. The level of discomfort increases with the amount of digital screen use.

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The average amount of screen time spent by office workers was found to be an average 7hrs/day. This does not include the time spent on a cell phone, television, or tablet. If we include these objects too, the average time may easily get extended to 8-9 hrs/day.

With the recent pandemic situation, people are not allowed to visit gyms, go for a walk, visit malls for shopping, visit the library for books, visit a friend’s place for chit-chat, etc. Due to this situation, people have now turned to digital solutions for fulfilling all the above requirements. 

Apart from office work, people have started using digital services for meeting friends, shopping for groceries, medicine, attending e-classes, reading e-books very often. Also, the time spent on television has increased.  The cumulative effect of all these activities is strained and fatigued eyes.

The common symptoms observed are headache, the strain on eyes, blurred vision, dry eyes, irritation, and redness. Apart from these symptoms, increased neck, and shoulder pain and poor capability to handle stress have also increased.

Health Checkup & Wellness

The above-mentioned symptoms may be caused due to glare on the digital screen, improper viewing distance (holding laptops and cell phones too near to the body), poor lighting (watching movies or videos, reading messages on cell phones at night with lights off), poor seating positions (sitting on bed or sofas while working) or a combination of all these factors. The extent to which a person may suffer may depend upon a person’s visual abilities and the actual amount of time spent at the screen. Pre-existing eye problems may get elevated or may contribute to the development of digital eye strain. The symptoms may sometimes seem to be temporary but may have long-lasting effects on the eyes if nothing is done to address the cause of the problem.

Some very easy day to day solutions that can be implemented to avoid this syndrome are as follows:

Lighting: Position or hold the screen to avoid glare, especially from overhead lighting or windows. Use curtains or blinds on windows and replace the light bulbs with lower wattage bulbs.

Anti-glare screen: This screen is now easily available and it decreases the amount of light reflected from the screen.

Seating position: Prefer sitting on comfortable straight chairs. The height of the chair should be adjusted such that the feet are rested flat on the floor. The chairs should have arm support. The wrist shouldn’t rest on the keyboard when typing.

Rest Breaks: When you have to use the screen for longer periods, rest breaks are a must. Rest your eyes for 15 minutes (don’t look at any other screen in that time) after every 2 hours during the continuous use of computers. Some exercises like the blinking of eyes, rotation of eye-balls in a circular motion, and sideways can also help.

If dryness exists, with the consultation of a doctor, use eye drops. Frequent blinking of eyes is also necessary while looking at the screen. The optometrist association has suggested one rule famously known as the 20-20-20 rule. If you have worked on the screen for a longer duration, then after every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds

Distance from the screen– Please maintain a viewing distance of 20 to 40 inches ( 50 to 100 centimeters) between your eyes and computer screen, you may adjust your font size & zoom ratio’s for better viewing, but maintain the viewing distance of  20 and 40 inches from the eye to the front surface of the computer screen. Use table space to the maximum and adjust the angle to suit your vision.

Lastly, regular eye health check-up or examination from ophthalmologists, proper use of eyeglasses, nutritional food can help to reduce the development of the symptoms. Regular or Annual Health Checkup is highly recommended, to ensure your other health parameters are in order.

Periodic health check-up ensures that you or on top of the situation as far as your health is concerned and there is no surprise with your health & wellness.

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