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Ergonomic Eye Problems Related To Computer Use

Posted Sep 27 2008 8:22am
Ergonomic Problems of the Eye or Computer Eye strain is the most common Ergonomics Problem that computer users all over the world experience. A number of symptoms associated with Ergonomic Eye Problems or Computer Eye strain have been experienced and proved worldwide.

Here are some of the symptoms related to Computer Eye strain and vision:
-Visual fatigue
-Blurred or double vision
-Burning and watering eyes
-Headaches and frequent changes in prescription glasses

These symptoms are now commonly grouped as a disorder and is called "Computer Vision Syndrome" or C.V.S. The American Optometric Association defines, C.V.S as “A complex of eye and vision Problems which are experienced during and related to computer use”.

There are basic Ergonomic Problems that occur with the prolonged viewing of desktop and laptop computer screens. The nature of screen characters and images necessitates subtle but continual refocusing. If one has to regularly switch the attention between a close screen and more distant workspace objects things become more complicated. C.V.S results from this change in dynamics.

Another cause of Ergonomic Eye Problems or Computer Eye Strain is that the average person blinks approximately 4 times per minute, far less than the natural rate of 22 blinks per minute. This lower blink rate causes eye moisture to evaporate, resulting in a "dry eye" condition . The symptoms of dry eye are sensations such as itching, burning, blurring, heavy eyelids, fatigue and double vision. There is no evidence yet that computer work causes permanent eye damage. But the temporary discomfort that may occur can produce fatigue, headaches, general discomfort, reduce productivity, cause lost work time and reduce job satisfaction.

In most cases, Ergonomic Eye Problems or Computer Eye strain results from visual fatigue. This visual fatigue is caused by poor or inadequate lighting, glare from bright windows or strong overhead light sources, light reflecting off the display screen, poor display screen contrast and from excessive eye muscle readjustments, such as when a document holder is not used, the computer users eyes must constantly readjust as the user looks back and forth from documents to the computer screen, as these visual fields are not of similar plane or angle.

Methods to Avoid Ergonomic Eye Problems & Computer Eye strain:

-Periodically focus on objects at varying distances, such as looking away at a wall clock 50 feet away
-Blink the eyes regularly, use eye drops for moisture
-Try to keep the air around you moist – For instance, you can use plants, open pans of water or a humidifier (spider plants are said to be particularly good for this and removing chemical vapors from the air)
-Use a monitor arm if you use a desktop computer to adjust the screen height/seating so that while you are comfortably seated, your eyes are in line with the top of the monitor screen. If you use a laptop computer, use a laptop holder to properly position your screen.
-Adjust the brightness control on your monitor for comfort. Focusing on the monitor for a long time with full brightness can cause Ergonomic Eye Problems or Eyestrain.
-Adjust the contrast on your monitor to make the characters distinct from the background
-Do not position monitors directly in front of windows
-Ensure proper lighting by using task lighting fixture. Avoid strong overhead light sources.
-Use a document holder to keep the screen and documents at the same distance from your eyes

Do regular eye testing at least once every 2 years and more frequently if necessary - especially if you are experiencing Ergonomics Eye Problems or Computer eye strain related to using display equipment. Specify the distance from your eyes to the monitor to your optician and get information regarding special lenses or the use of bifocals.

Read here for details on the common symptoms of Ergonomics Eye Problems or Computer Eye strain.
Nicole Matoushek MPH, PT
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