Ever spent more than two consecutive hours looking at a computer screen? Us too. Computers can make us more productive, but the bad news is they could also lead to something called Computer Vision Syndrome. More recognizable as that tired, strained feeling those eyes get after a day in front of a screen, the condition packs a punch: 64 to 90 percent of office workers suffer from CVS . Chu, C., Rosenfield, M., Portello, JK, et al. SUNY College of Optometry, State University of New York, New York. Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics, 2011 Jan;31(1):29-32 . Rosenfield, M. SUNY College of Optometry, New York. Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics, 2011 Sep;31(5):502-15. Read on to learn how to spot the symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome — and what to do about them.

I Spy Eye Strain — The Need-to-Know

CVS likely doesn’t cause , but it can still affect computer users’ comfort. The most common of CVS include eye strain, redness, irritation, or dryness, a burning feeling in the eyes, blurred or double vision after computer use, headaches, and neck and shoulder (eesh!) . Ostrovsky, A., Ribak, J., Pereg, A., et al. Department of Environmental & Occupational Health, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Israel. Ergonomics, 2012 Aug;55(8):854-62 . Rosenfield, M. SUNY College of Optometry, New York. Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics, 2011 Sep;31(5):502-15.

increase the likelihood of CVS, including uncorrected vision problems, dry eyes, glares on the screen, poor lighting, poor posture, and even the angle of the monitor . Rosenfield, M. SUNY College of Optometry, New York. Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics, 2011 Sep;31(5):502-15 . Izquierdo, JC, Garcia, M., Buxo, C., et al. Academia Perpetuo Socorro, Puerto Rico. Boleton de la Associacion Medica de Puerto Rico, 2004 Mar-Apr;96(2):103-10. Another big factor is incorrect prescriptions: Almost reporting symptoms of CVS wear eyeglasses or lenses.

Better Vision in Sight — Your Action Plan

Computer screens proving a pain in the eyes? Follow these guidelines to help ease symptoms:

  • Have your eyes checked regularly. If you need a new or changed prescription and don’t have it, using a computer will be difficult, period.
  • Reposition the computer. The screen should be away and positioned directly in front of the face, not off to the side. Position the monitor so its center is four to eight inches below the eyes, which allows the neck to relax while we read and type.
  • Follow guidelines for good posture. It’ll reduce strain on the back, neck, and shoulders.
  • Ensure proper lighting. Try the to determine if current lighting is a problem: Look at the monitor and cup the hands over the eyes, like a baseball cap. If the eyes immediately feel better, then the lighting should be changed. Experiment with brighter and dimmer lighting, as well as the angle of the lights, to find what’s most comfortable for the eyes . Rosenfield, M. SUNY College of Optometry, New York. Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics, 2011 Sep;31(5):502-15.
  • Reduce glare. Installing anti-glare filters on the monitor, adjusting window shades, and changing the screen’s contrast and brightness can help . Rosenfield, M. SUNY College of Optometry, New York. Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics, 2011 Sep;31(5):502-15.
  • Blink frequently. It should prevent dry eyes. If that doesn’t work, consider lubricating eye drops . Rosenfield, M. SUNY College of Optometry, New York. Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics, 2011 Sep;31(5):502-15. Also air vents aren’t blowing on the face (this can dry out the eyes), and use a humidifier if the room is super dry.
  • Take regular work breaks. Stand, stretch, or just , away from the computer, every 15 minutes or so to give the eyes a break . Rosenfield, M. SUNY College of Optometry, New York. Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics, 2011 Sep;31(5):502-15.
  • Clean the monitor regularly. Dust can , making the eyes work harder.
  • Try computer glasses. Unlike everyday eyewear, they’re for looking at computer screens.
  • Consider Optometric Vision Therapy. Some computer users have or coordination that aren’t corrected by glasses or s. Vision therapy consists of doctor-prescribed activities designed to improve visual functioning (think of it as a workout for the eyes—though no guarantees as to calorie burn).
Thanks to , Professor of Pediatics/Binocular Vision at the Illinois Eye Institute/Illinois College of Optometry, and , Developmental Optometrist at the Vision and Learning Center, for their help with this article.

Have you suffered from computer eye strain? Have any of these tips worked for you? Share in comments below!