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Computer Vision Syndrome in Young Working Adults: Expert Shares Tips to Protect One’s Eyes

The major cause root behind the condition is our eyes follow the same path over and over again. While working in front of the screen, your eyes might have to focus and refocus again

Adopt a 20-20 minute policy which means that after every 20 minutes of screen work, take a 20 seconds break from the screen, says expert

Written by Kashish Sharma |Published : October 17, 2022 5:22 PM IST

Sitting and staring at a computer screen for long hours has become quite a lifestyle. Following the pandemic, screen time has been extended in literally all areas of life. While this over-dependence on digital presence has made life easier for many, it has sure become bad news for our eye health.

As per the WHO, more than 2 billion people have near or distant vision impairment. Interestingly, at least 1 billion people or almost half of these people, have a vision impairment that could have been prevented. While globally the leading cause of vision impairment are age-related muscular degeneration, cataract, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and uncorrected refractive disorder, there have been a set of eye conditions essentially triggered by spending too much time before the screen. Called computer vision syndrome (CVS), this is not just one condition but a set of them that can cause eye strain and discomfort. These conditions are primarily caused by the prolonged use of digital screens.

Understanding CVS

In some ways, computer vision syndrome is much similar to nerve compression and other repetitive motion injuries that one might get at work. The major cause root behind the condition is our eyes follow the same path over and over again. While working in front of the screen, your eyes might have to focus and refocus again. The constantly changing images, for instance, from looking down at the paper and then moving our gaze back to the screen. If during working hours, one doesn't blink frequently, it can dry out the eyes and can periodically make your vision blurred. It gets even worse if your eye lens has already become inflexible.

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Common symptoms of a screen-strained eye

The symptoms of computer vision syndrome might differ from one person to another. While there is not much proof to show that these symptoms might have a long-term impact but they cause discomfort and strain on a regular basis-

  1. Blurred Vision
  2. Double Vision
  3. Dry, red eyes
  4. Eye irritation
  5. Headaches
  6. Neck or back pain

Blue light and vision damage

Blue light is one of the several colours of the visible light spectrum. Each colour has a different wavelength and energy, hence, each colour affects your eyes differently. Some research has found a relationship between eye damage and short-wave blue light. In a phenomenon called phototoxicity, a short-wave blue light can damage your retina. Since the blue light passes straight to the back of your retina, it can increase the risk of macular degeneration, a disease that affects the retina. In a study, two hours of exposure to blue light was seen to slow down the release of melatonin, thereby disrupting the sleep cycle.

Expert shares some tips to follow

In a time when working before a screen has become inevitable and with the popularity of phone-run cinematic apps like Netflix, Prime and others, our eyes have become one of the most vulnerable organs. While one can't stop work or pleasure, one can take measures to use our eyes in the least damaging way. Dr Arvind Kumar, Senior Consultant Opthalmology (Fortis Escorts Hospital, Faridabad) shared some tips to ensure good eye health

  1. Adopt a 20-20 minute policy which means that after every 20 minutes of screen work, take a 20 seconds break from the screen
  2. For prolonged video watching, prefer larger screens like television screens or theatre screens in place of phone
  3. While watching something on a screen, ensure a sitting position with an adequate distance from th device
  4. Use anti-glare or blue-filter glasses when working for long hours in front of a screen
  5. Try not to use your mobile phone for at least 1 hour before hitting the bed
  6. Try keeping your eyes moist
  7. Move your eyes in all directions at regular intervals
  8. Maintain one hand distance from the screen
  9. Keep your eyes at the level of the upper edge of the screen
  10. Work in a room that has adequate light coming from the background.

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