Think about how often you stare at a screen.
You get up in the morning and immediately check your emails and socials. You sit down at your laptop for six to 10 hours per day. After work, you catch up with friends via text. Then, you watch your new favorite show to wind down, scroll more on your phone at bedtime, or maybe read a professional development book on your e-reader.
According to a 2020 study, Americans spend more than 6,259 hours each year looking at a screen, which adds up to about 44 years over the average adult lifespan. Daily, that looks like about 17 hours out of every 24.
As we increase our use of technology in every area of our lives, we also face never-before-seen health problems, including computer vision syndrome.
If you spend most of your day staring at screens, you may be straining your eyes and suffering from computer vision syndrome. You may also, however, find it difficult to just stop using your laptop for work or cut out tech entirely at home. Here, we’re sharing some symptoms of computer vision syndrome as well as effective ways to give your eyes relief.
What is Computer Vision Syndrome?
According to Penn Medicine, computer vision syndrome (or CVS) is a temporary condition that causes eye pain or discomfort. As Insider reports, CVS impacts around 90% of computer users who spend at least three hours per day in front of a computer; in other words, just about anyone who works a desk job.
Other factors may increase your likelihood of suffering from CVS, including wearing contact lenses (as contacts can make dry eyes worse).
Additional factors that might increase your likelihood of experiencing CVS include:
- Poor lighting
- Dry air
- Incorrect prescription lenses
- Current vision or eye issues
- Some medications
Meanwhile, wearing glasses actually decreases your likelihood of developing CVS because glasses can prevent moisture loss by blocking your eyes from air drafts.
Symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome
So, how do you know if you have CVS? There is a wide range of varied symptoms to consider, including:
- Eye fatigue
- Eye irritation or dryness
- Eye redness
- Eye burning or itching
- Blurred or double vision
- Neck or back pain
- Muscle fatigue
- Increased sensitivity to light
- Heavy eyelids
These symptoms may go away after you spend a few hours away from a screen.
5 Ways to Relieve CVS Symptoms
While you can easily alleviate CVS symptoms by taking a screen break overnight, that’s usually not an option during the day. To alleviate these symptoms at work, implement the following changes into your workday.
1. Practice eye yoga
Eye yoga is easy to do and can give your eyes a much-needed screen break in the middle of the day.
2. Adjust your screen settings
You may discover that you strain your eyes less frequently when adjusting your screen settings which may reduce or eliminate CVS symptoms. Increase your screen’s contrast and upsize the font, while also ensuring the screen’s brightness isn’t overly bright compared to the rest of the room.
3. Switch up your work environment
Keep the air in your work environment moist (with the help of a humidifier, if needed) and dust-free. Try not to work directly beneath overhead lights and position your computer about an arm’s length away and below your normal eye level.
4. Use extra resources
Reduce eye strain by investing in items such as high-quality blue light glasses and moisturizing eye drops. Keep these items at your desk so they are always within your reach.
5. Set screentime boundaries
The best change you can make to prevent CVS symptoms? Set boundaries around screen time, both at work and at home. You can start by scheduling these breaks into your calendar so that you don’t forget them or by setting a timer for every hour. You can also try setting app time limits on your phone, to counteract needless scrolling in the mornings or evenings.
The Bottom Line
Your health is one of your most precious resources — that includes taking care of your eyes.
While your job may require you to stare at screens all day, your vision doesn’t have to suffer. If you think you may be impacted by CVS, get relief by implementing some of the above tips in your life at both work and home.
Or, if you find you need additional support when it comes to making positive lifestyle changes, such as limiting screen exposure or setting breaks from work, talk to an Arootah coach today. Coaching can support you in setting clear goals, making better health decisions, and establishing accountability so you can achieve the results you desire