Don't let your job be a pain Workplace safety addresses computer vision syndrome

  • Friday, March 21, 2014

Approximately 100 million American workers are affected by computer eyestrain, a symptom of computer vision syndrome (CVS), according to Dr. Brad Bodkin.

“March is Eye Safety in the Workplace Month, and as our nation has moved from a manufacturing society to an information society, computer vision syndrome has become a workplace concern,” Dr. Bodkin said. “While prolonged computer use will not damage vision, it can make you uncomfortable and decrease productivity.”

CVS is caused by the eyes constantly focusing and refocusing on the characters on a computer screen. These characters don't have the contrast or well-defined edges like printed words and the eyes' focus cannot remain fixed. CVS can be partially alleviated by changes in the ergonomics of the work area.

“Symptoms of CVS include headaches, loss of focus, burning or tired eyes, blurred vision, and neck or shoulder pain,” Dr. Bodkin said. “Proper lighting and monitor placement can go a long way toward reducing CVS, as can giving your eyes frequent 'breaks' from the computer. But the underlying cause of CVS – the ability of the eyes to focus on the computer screen – may only be remedied by specialized computer glasses.”

Dr. Bodkin said a comprehensive eye exam, including questions about a person's computer-use habits, is the first step. If it is determined that vision correction for computer use is required, an eye doctor can prescribe computer lenses that are designed to improve your vision in the 18- to 28-inch range, the optimal distance between your eyes and the computer monitor.

Dr. Bodkin is the owner and practitioner of The Vision Center at Seaside Farms located at 1956 Long Grove Drive, Suite 1 in Mount Pleasant and is a Fellow in the American Academy of Optometry.

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