Computer Vision Syndrome, the New Workplace Safety Threat

Computer vision syndrome, or CVS, is more common than carpal tunnel syndrome and other musculoskeletal disorders, according to a recent article in HR News.

According to the American Optometric Association, CVS is a result of interaction with a computer display. Symptoms of CVS are eyestrain and fatigue, dry eyes, headaches and neck and shoulder pain.

Computer terminal-related vision problems are at least as significant a health concern as the musculoskeletal disorders, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, that receive more attention.

In most cases, CVS is treatable — and modifications to the workplace and regular practices can help. VSP VisionCare, an eye-care insurance company, says that some simple steps to combat CVS include:

Keep blinking — It washes your eyes in naturally therapeutic tears.

Remember 20-20-20 — Every 20 minutes, spend 20 seconds looking at something 20 feet away, minimum.

Get the right light — Good lighting is healthy for your eyes. So, keep bright lighting overhead to a minimum. Keep your desk lamp shining on your desk, not you. Try to keep window light off to the side, rather than in front or behind you. Use blinds and get a glare screen.

Position the computer screen to reduce reflections from windows or overhead lights.

Monitor your monitor — Keep it at least 20 inches from your eyes. The center of the screen should be about 4 to 6 inches below your eyes. Also, make sure it’s big enough and with just the right brightness and contrast. Adjust the screen so you look at it slightly downward and are about 24 to 28 inches away.

Adjust the screen settings to where they are comfortable — contract polarity, resolution, flicker, etc.

Wear those computer specs — Your doctor can prescribe a pair of glasses just for seeing the computer screen well. If necessary, wear the appropriate corrective lenses while at the computer.

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