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 Dr. Sanjay Dhawan
Computer Vision Syndrome
What is it?
What are the problems?
What causes these problems?
What are the symptoms?
What is the solution?

What is it?

  Computers have become an integral part of everyone's life. They have made things so much fast and simple but have brought with them new problems related to the eyes. These problems affect all those who spend a significant time working on the computers everyday. However, these computer related eye problems are mostly due to our own wrong habits. I call this cluster of problems e-Pain (which may mean electronic / eye pain) which is also called Computer Vision Syndrome.

What are the problems?

  • Pain

  • Redness

  • Watering

  • Headache

  • Fatigue

  • Irritability

  • Poor Concentration

Pain and eye strain being so common among the computer users that it would be appropriate to call this cluster of computer related eye problems: e-Pain.

What causes these problems?

An understanding of what causes these symptoms can help us take appropriate preventive steps.

It is important to know that computer monitors do not emit any harmful rays or radiations (monochrome or color). The causes of the trouble are:

  • Constantly gazing at a near distance (at the monitor)

  • Decreased rate of blinking

  Convergence Fatigue
  When we look at a near object both our eyes move towards each other (converge) to fixate at the target. Prolonged viewing of the monitor at close distance leads to fatigue of convergence and its weakness / insufficiency. This consequently leads to eye strain, pain and headache.
  Infrequent Blinking
  Decreased rate of blinking while working on computers leads to instability of the tear film of the eyes. This leads to feeling of dryness, irritation, redness and a reflex watering from the eyes.
What is the solution?
  There is no single magic remedy for this problem. Following set of measures can be undertaken together to get relief:
  Proper Visual Hygiene
  • Monitor should be placed about 2-3 feet from the eyes (or at the farthest comfortable distance).

  • Do not gaze constantly at the monitor for long duration. Take your eyes off the screen every 5-10 minutes.

  • Every half an hour or so close your eyes for 1-2 minutes to give them rest.

  • Every hour or so take a 5 minutes break (go for a stroll or run some errand).

  • Make a conscious effort to blink more frequently. Avoid sitting in front of an air conditioner facing its air draft while working on computer.

Convergence Exercises

Regular eye exercise can help prevent the problems caused by working on computers or even heavy reading or writing work. These exercises are advised for all computer professionals, students, office workers, etc.

  • Sit on a chair upright and look at a far off samll object.

  • Then hold out a pen at level with your eyes at an arm's length and look at its tip.

  • Gradually bring the pen close to your eyes to a point where you feel a mild strain on your eyes. The tip of the pen should remain clear and single in appearance. Hold the pen in this position for about half a minute and then again gradually take it back to an arms length. Hold it here again for about half a minute, and then again bring the pen close to your eyes.

  • Repeat above step 10 times and then again look the far off small object. Again repeat the whole sequence.

  • In the beginning this exercise should be done for 5-10 minutes just once a day in the morning at a time when you are fresh and rested. After one week it should be increased to twice daily and after two weeks thrice a day. Avoid doing the exercise when you are tired or are having pain in eyes or headache. In the initial period when you begin exercising the pain in the eyes and headache may increase, but this should not discourage you. As you continue the exercise you will gradually feel relief from the symptoms over 2-3 weeks.

Continue the exercise for 2 months to build good eye muscle strength and reserves power.

Lubricant Eye Drops
Lubricant eye drops instilled 3-4 times a day help in soothing the eyes and relieving irritation and redness. Many preparations are available in the market e.g. Tears Plus, Hypotears Plus, Moss, Moisol, etc. Although allergy or reactions to these eye drops are uncommon yet one should be careful in using them, and if they cause any irritation, redness or swelling of the eyes they should be immediately discontinued. It is advisable to consult an ophthalmologist before using any eye medicines.

Anti-glare glasses do not provide any relief.

Author: Dr. Sanjay Dhawan
Last Updated on: 1 March, 2014


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