How to Prevent Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) and Reduce Eye Strain
Computers have taken over our lives and many of us spend eight to ten hours a day staring at the screen. The computer screen itself presents a problem itself because the contents are not solid characters, rather a multitude of pixels or dots which makes focusing on them difficult for the human eye. Computer Vision Syndrome refers to a number of vision-related symptoms that you experience if you work for two or more hours a day in front of a computer screen. Studies show that 50 to 90 percent of users have some form of CVS. Here is a list of typical symptoms you might be experiencing:
- Difficulty maintaining clear focus of the screen image
- Distance vision blurred after looking at the monitor
- Watery eyes
- Burning or itchy eyes (red eyes)
- Neck ache
- Dry, sandy feeling in your eyes
We are also to blame because of our improper work habits and poor work station surroundings. More than 50 percent of computer users experience eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision and other visual symptoms related to sustained use of the computer. This type of stress on the visual system can also cause body fatigue and reduced efficiency at work. Some of these we can help by rearranging our routine and lighting conditions, and purchasing antiglare accessories that can reduce light reflections.
Changing our work space surroundings
Keeping your nose to the grindstone was a useful adage centuries ago, but staring at the screen from a close distance is damaging to your eyes. For most people, a comfortable screen to eye distance is between 22 inches (56 cm) and 36 inches (91 cm). The monitor should also be placed so that your eyes read the top third of the screen instead of looking directly at it. This will also help to relieve muscle strain by keeping your neck at level.
Direct or indirect glare is the second biggest complaint from users with eye strain. Glare can be caused by sunlight coming through the window, overhead fluorescent lights and desk lamps that reflect onto the screen from various angles and “wash out” parts of the screen and reduce contrast. If you are close to a sunny window, close or adjust the blinds so light does not fall directly onto your monitor. If that is not possible, try to turn the monitor so that the light does not hit the screen directly. On the other side, try to avoid working in a dark room. If you must work in near dark conditions, try dimming the brightness of the screen and take hourly breaks to limit eye strain. Overhead lights can also cause problems. If you have fluorescent lights make sure that you are using the “cool white” tubes. If you have incandescent lighting, try to use a desk lamp next to the monitor instead of the overhead light. Your monitor throws its own light, so you really only need adequate indirect light around you.
It could be your monitor
There are a large number of monitors out there, some as old as ten years. The older CRT (cathode ray tube) monitors cause the most eye problems because of their screen refresh flicker rate that subliminally bother the eye. The newer flat screens LCD (liquid crystal display) and LED (light emitting diode) are much more user friendly, use less electricity and have brighter screens. This can also cause problems because an overly bright screen can overwhelm the eye. It is easy to adjust the brightness and contrast settings until you find a balance that’s easiest for your eyes. You’d be surprised how bright and contrasted the default settings are. Make sure that your desktop and color scheme aren’t agitating your eyes either. Opt for neutral and darker-colored tones with minimal contrast until you find the right color balance. Additionally, pay attention to the brightness and contrast levels of different web pages and documents. If you’re having trouble reading a page of gray text on a black background, print it out instead or at least copy and paste into a new document with dark text on a white background.
You should also schedule breaks away from the desk to move your muscles and refocus your vision. This will help you increase blood flow throughout your body, stretch your muscles and rest your hands. Go get coffee or take a bathroom break to stretch your legs. If you can’t get out of your seat, try turning your head slowly from side to side and roll your shoulders simultaneously several times. You can extend your legs under the desk and roll your ankles. The following exercises are recommended by Dr. Marc Grossman, O.D., L.A.c, on the VisionworkUSA.com website:This exercise improves eye flexibility:
- Hold your thumb six inches from your nose.
- Focus on your thumb.
- Take one deep breath and exhale slowly.
- Then focus on an object about 10 feet away.
- Take another deep breath and slowly exhale.
- Repeat back and forth 15 times
This exercise helps you increase the flexibility of your eyes.
- Sitting or standing at one end of a room, let your eyes scan around the edges of objects in the room - clocks, televisions, doors, lights, computers, etc.
- The object of this exercise is to keep your eyes moving in a loose and fluid way.
- Do this exercise for two minutes.
- Remember to breathe.
This exercise is to relax your neck, head and face muscles and reduce shoulder tension.
- Take a deep breath and close your eyes.
- On the exhale, slowly drop your chin to your chest. Relax your neck and shoulders.
- As you inhale deeply again, slowly and gently roll your head around to the left, then back, keeping your shoulders still and relaxed.
- Make your movements slowly, carefully and deliberately.
- Now exhale full as you roll your head to the other side and down to your chest again.
- Repeat this sequence twice then change directions and repeat twice more.
How the NuShield AG antiglare filter helps to reduce screen glare
Antiglare films have a roughened surface, scattering reflected glare thereby minimizing its effects.
Nushield Triple A™ antiglare, antimicrobial, and anti-fingerprint film provides excellent screen visibility and protection against germ growth on electronic displays. This is our strongest antiglare film. The film uses a low-tack silicone rubber-based adhesive to grip the screen surface. It can be cleaned with disinfectants and solvents while the antimicrobial property remains to continually inhibit the growth of germs on the film surface. The antiglare feature diffuses glare from overhead lights and allows users to clearly read the display indoors. The antiglare property also prevents the transmission or reflection of 99% UVB ultra violet light from reaching the user’s eyes. The film installs easily in minutes and can be removed without leaving any adhesive residue behind.
NuShield AG antiglare films do not use adhesive for most applications where a standard screen bezel surrounds the display. The film is installed by inserting the edges between the case and screen. This mechanical attachment means that there is no possibility for trapped air to create bubbles. This patented* system prevents Newton rings and provides easy installation. In applications where the screen is sealed, NuShield films use a 3/16” wide low tack adhesive strip around the film perimeter. The adhesive is removable and can be repositioned.
What Makes the NuShield AG film better than competitors?
- Protects against screen glare indoors from overhead and sunlight
- Filters out 99% of UVB light for UV protection
- Delivers longer lasting scratch resistance than any other similar product
- Hides fingerprints and is easy to clean
- Installs easily, easy to remove
- Provides excellent scratch resistance, lower haze and improved anti-Newton ring optical performance
- Prevents damage from repetitive writing, scratching or tapping
- Super-thin writing surface gives pleasant feel and excellent character recognition.
- Excellent abrasion and chemical resistance to protect the LCD screen
- Increases the life of your LCD display screen and avoids expensive screen replacements which can cost $200-$600
- Used in the most severe environments to protect devices in commercial, industrial, military and government settings