Michael Somers, MD

Michael Somers, MD Ophthalmologist with Somers Eye Center

The average American adult spends more than 8 hours of every day in front of a screen working, paying bills, shopping online, reading books or watching movies. Computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones are part of daily life, but extended screen time may have an unexpected downside: Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS).

CVS is a group of vision-related problems caused by prolonged exposure to the smaller type, bright backlighting and lower contrast common with electronic media. Research shows that between 50-90% of computer users suffers symptoms of CVS, which include eye discomfort; tired, dry or sore eyes; blurry vision and headaches.

“While Computer Vision Syndrome won’t cause permanent eye damage, the discomfort associated with it can negatively impact daily activities such as workplace performance and leisure activities,” notes Dr. Somers.

“Fortunately, a few simple changes can reduce or eliminate the most common symptoms of CVS.”

Try these tips to prevent eyestrain and relieve soreness:

    • Switch your setup. Adjust your screen so it is 25-28 inches away from your eyes and 4-5 inches below eye level.
    • Be screen savvy. Position your screen to minimize glare. Antiglare displays are an effective tool for avoiding glare and keeping your screen dust-free.
    • Obey the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, shift your vision to a spot 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.
    • Give them a rest. If your eyes feel sore or tired, cover them with a warm washcloth for a few minutes. Sleep is beneficial, too, because your eyes have a chance to relax.
    • Shed some tears. Try using artificial tears. When you stare at a computer screen, you blink every 12-15 seconds rather than every eight seconds. This can cause dry eyes, blurry vision, redness and light sensitivity.
    • Wear proper eye wear. If you have glasses or contacts, wear them. Straining your eyes will compound the symptoms of CVS.
    • See an eye doctor. If you’ve tried these tips but still have discomfort, a trip to the eye doctor might be in order.