The more technology evolves, the more difficult it can be to resist interacting with screens throughout the day. Nielsen confirmed this in June 2016 stating that adults in the United States spend around 10 hours and 39 minutes in front of screens per day. This means that using smartphones, laptops, computers, televisions, tablets, and other personal devices consumes almost half of the typical American adult’s day. As this usage increases, so does our susceptibility to Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS)
Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) is defined by the American Optometric Association as “a group of eye and vision-related problems that result from prolonged computer, tablet, e-reader, and cell phone use.” CVS typically results in only temporary vision problems such as eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision, and dry eyes, it is also possible for these symptoms to continue even after screen interaction has stopped. That’s why device users must be educated on their susceptibility to Computer Vision Syndrome and be aware of ways to prevent it.
While the obvious suggestion to prevent Computer Vision Syndrome is to eliminate or decrease our daily screen time, this is easier said than done since our lives require interacting with these devices. Instead, follow these three simple tips to help prevent vision problems:
- Match the brightness of your screen to the lighting of the room you are in
- Maintain proper posture when using devices by sitting up straight and having relaxed shoulders
- Follow the 20-20-20 rule of every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break 20 feet from a screen
It is important to listen to our bodies as well as follow these guidelines to prevent vision problems that come with our constant interactions with screens. The more we pay attention, the less susceptible we might be to Computer Vision Syndrome.
About Ann Van Wie, OD, FAAO
Ann M. Van Wie, OD, FAAO, is an assistant professor in the Department of Ophthalmology within Emory University’s School of Medicine. She serves in the Vision & Optical Services within the Comprehensive Ophthalmology section at the Emory Eye Center.
Dr. Van Wie received her doctorate from the Illinois College of Optometry. She completed her residency in Atlanta, then served as staff optometrist and chief operating officer at the Northwest Eye Clinic in Minneapolis. Dr. Van Wie returned to Atlanta to join the Emory Eye Center in 2000.