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Do you suffer from Computer Vision Syndrome?

May 26, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
When people work in front of computers for hours they can often develop blurry eyes and aching necks, it's being called Computer Vision Syndrome. Will Bulka spends a big part of his workday online.

"I look at a computer screen anywhere between eight to ten hours a day," said Bulka.

All that time staring at the computer can take a toll.

"You know, I come home from work sometimes with terrible headaches," said Bulka.

Headaches, blurred vision and focusing problems are all symptoms of what practitioners refer to as Computer Vision Syndrome.

The American Optometric Association says CVS is not an official diagnosis, but it is a real problem that impacts as many as 70 percent of those who work at their computers daily for at least two hours.

"Computers have proliferated in our workplaces and our homes," says Dr. Jim Sheedy, American Optometric Association.

It can also happen when you're texting a lot. It can affect anyone, but people with dry eyes or bifocals are more prone to problems.

"Anyone who requires bifocals or progressive lenses to work at a computer can be prone to problems," said Sheedy. "Your typical bifocals are designed for looking down about 25 degrees at a viewing distance of about 16 inches."

Post-menopausal women are also at risk because they may have dry eyes to begin with. And anyone who plays computer games for hours is also vulnerable.

So what can you do? Fix your work environment for one.

"You should not have bright peripheral lights in your field of view and get your computer display straight in front of you," said Sheedy. "You should not have to look off to the side to see your computer display. Also, the display should be at the same horizontal level as your eyes and this way you're looking slightly downward at it."

And use the 20-20 rule, take breaks every 20 minutes for 20 seconds.


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