October 29, 2019
In our screen-happy society, more and more people are suffering from CVS – and most may not realize it. This uncomfortable, irritating condition has become an under-the-radar epidemic, and the eye doctors at Pro-Optix Eye Care want to make sure you don’t become another statistic.
CVS – Computer Vision Syndrome – is marked by symptoms such as sore, itchy, irritated eyes, dry eyes, watery eyes, blurred or double vision, sensitivity to light, headaches and soreness in the neck, shoulders or back. You might also find it more difficult to concentrate or have trouble keeping your eyes open. While eye strain isn’t likely to cause permanent damage to your vision, it does make it much more difficult to get through your day.
The normal blink rate is approximately 15 times per minute, but researchers at The American Academy of Ophthalmology have found that while looking at electronic screens, most people will blink only a half to a third as often. Blinking regularly helps to produce the tears that moisten and protect your eyes. Without sufficient tears to protect them, your eyes tire much more quickly. A study conducted by the Nepalese Journal of Ophthalmology monitored computer use and the resulting effects on the eyes. Almost 90 percent of the 795 Malaysian university students participating in the study suffered with symptoms of CVS after just two continuous hours of screen time.
Fortunately, there are ways to help you break the cycle of extended screen exposure and reduce the symptoms of CVS. One of the most effective – and easiest to do – is to follow the 20-20-20 rule. This guideline is simple, but incredibly helpful if you’re trying to reduce eye strain. After every 20 minutes of screen time, look away from your screen and focus on an object at least 20 feet away from you for 20 seconds. It only takes the human eye 20 seconds to relax, which takes the stress off your eyes.
Ironically, your devices may be the best way for you to remember to take a much-needed break from your screens. Try one of the apps designed to help you follow the 20-20-20 rule, such as Eye Care 20 20 20, Space or Moment. If you’re a parent who wants to monitor your child’s screen time to protect his or her eyes, consider installing Screen Time on their devices.
These apps will send alarms to your phone to remind you to look away, whether it’s from your phone, your laptop or your tablet…wherever you may be working. You can also use a programmable watch, a kitchen timer, or even an old-fashioned alarm clock.
There are other ways you can help prevent CVS:
• Get a yearly vision test to spot any other issues that may exist.
• Keep your distance from your screens. The optimal distance is 25 inches, which about an arm’s length away.
• Consider installing a matte screen or anti-glare filter to reduce eye exertion.
• Dim your screen to a level equal to the room light to reduce contrast. When the light entering your eye is more uniform, you’re less likely to strain your eyes.
• Make sure your screens are clean. Dirty screens or screens covered with fingerprints can increase eye strain.
If you wear contact lenses, the amount of strain put on your eyes by extended screen time can be amplified. Make sure you wear glasses when using screens for long periods of time. If you hate wearing your glasses, think about getting an ultra-stylish pair of designer frames to draw positive attention to your quest for healthier eyes.
Think you may be suffering from CVS? Call Pro-Optix Eye Care at 713-360-7095 to make an appointment with one of the Tanglewood/Galleria Area’s leading optometrists. Not only can we perform a full vision exam, we can coach you on the best way to prevent CVS.
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