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Worker Productivity and Computer Vision Syndrome

Between smartphones, work computers and other digital devices, its becoming increasingly difficult to avoid blue light exposure and computer vision syndrome (cvs). 43% of adults work at jobs that open them up to increasingly serious threats to their vision, health and productivity.

Computer Vision Syndrome in the Workplace

Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS), also known as digital eye strain, has been shown to have a negative impact on worker productivity. In fact, studies show that those workers that spend two hours or more daily in front of a screen are the most susceptible to experience the symptoms of CVS. Symptoms can include

  • blurred visioncomputer eye strain long island ny
  • eye strain
  • fatigue
  • headaches
  • dry, red, irritated eyes
  • neck and back pain

The symptoms of CVS have become the most common workplace complaint or injury among workers with 50-90% of computer users reporting symptoms to some degree. Typically the symptoms of CVS are not permanent, but they can have an impact on comfort, productivity and one’s ability to focus.

This is a real issue because workers need to be able to lead healthy comfortable lives while remaining gainfully employed.

Call Us For A Computer Vision Syndrome Consultation 516-252-0725

Ask Our Eye Doctors in Long Island About Blue Light

Blue light or high-energy visible (HEV) radiation exposure is just another negative aspect of prolonged digital device use. Studies show that blue light exposure will also disrupt your sleep cycle and destroy your ability to remain fresh and attentive to be successful at work. Its important to refrain from using your electronic devices for at least 2 hours before bedtime.

Computer Eyewear and Workspace Ergonomics

Without proper protection for your eyes, the workplace is a danger zone with tons of blue light. There are ways that you can reduce the levels of blue light at work. The simplest way is use proper warm white lighting using coated conventional light bulbs, not LED lighting, will decrease blue light. There are special filtering screens that can be used to cover your computer monitor to filter blue light. Portable devices can be easily filtered by using downloadable filtering apps. Purchasing special eyeglasses like BluTech glasses that feature anti-glare and blue light blocking will greatly reduce your blue light exposure. Optix Family Eyecare has the right pair for you. Make an appointment with our optometrists in Long Island, NY today for an eye exam and consultation.

Call Us For A Computer Vision Syndrome Consultation 516-252-0725

The 20/20/20 Rule

Filters and computer glasses are not enough. You need to get into a proper routine in order to combat the symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome. Remaining in the same position for an elongated period of time while staring at a lighted screen, will not just cause eye issues, but neck, back and shoulder pain as well.

If you follow a very simple, very effective solution called the 20/20/20 Rule, you will reduce the symptoms of CVS.

Every 20 minutes you spend using your electronic device or staring at any electronic screen, give yourself a 20-second break, and focus your eyes on something at least 20 feet away. This will allow your eyes to rest and focus on objects other than a fixed point in front of you. Take a 15-minute break for every 2 hours of continuous computer use.

These breaks will also help increase your blinking and moisten your eyes. For example, when we focus on a computer screen, we blink our eyes far less than normal. Failure to blink regularly, such as when staring at a computer screen for long periods of time, can cause drying of the eyes. That's why, at the end of the workday, your eyes are tired, red, and irritated.

Children and Computer Vision Syndrome

The use of technology has exploded. Its everywhere you look and you can't avoid screens. They are in the bank, the supermarket, the gas station, the movie theater etc.

Children are starting to use technology at a younger age than ever before. The Vision Council reported in 2015 that the use of computers, tablets, and other digital devices has become so commonplace in the daily lives of children, that close to 25% of children spend more than 3 hours a day using some sort of digital device. Over time, these numbers are only expected to grow.

As technology gets more innovative and sophisticated, these devices are becoming integrated into schools and becoming more common for use at a younger age. Many experts and parents are wondering how the use of these devices and the excessive exposure to blue light can negatively affect children’s eyes in the short and long term.

Computer Vision Syndrome

Computer Vision Syndrome (aka Digital Eye Strain)

Children are susceptible to computer vision syndrome (CVS), also called digital eye strain. Just like adults, they can experience symptoms of CVS after extended use of computers or digital devices. These symptoms include eye fatigue and eye strain, dry eyes, headaches, blurred vision, and neck and shoulder pain.

Childrens' eyes and visual system are less developed than adults and staring at a computer screen is a greater stress for their eyes. Their eyes are not used to the computer generated pixelated images and it causes their eyes to strain after extended viewing. Their eyes have a super difficult time focusing on those pixelated images and some children find it very uncomfortable. They just don't have the focusing power to spend extended amounts of time looking at these pixelated images.

Children are extremely impulsive and don’t always have the self-control to limit computer use. They also get engrossed in their favorite games or youtube videos and don't have the self-awareness to know when they are experiencing eye fatigue or other symptoms of CVS. Without proper parental supervision or using the 20-20-20 rule, they are more likely to overuse digital devices which can make symptoms worse.

Screen Use and Myopia

Myopia or nearsightedness is a growing concern as studies show the incidences of the condition are growing exponentially.  In the past it was thought that myopia was primarily genetic, however recent research indicates a correlation between environmental factors and the growing exposure to and use of digital devices, particularly in children.  As children increase their computer use and time spent on screen, the likelihood of developing myopia seems to also be increasing. According to a study done at the University of California at Berkeley School of Optometry which researched the incidence of myopia in 253 children between 6 years old and 10 years old showed a link with the amount of time spent on a computer.

The Effects of Blue Light

Blue light or high-energy visible (HEV) light is emitted from digital devices and is causing greater and greater concerns about long term exposure.  It is already known that blue light can affect sleep and concentration but studies are also indicating that it can cause long term retinal damage, particularly in kids whose young eye have more sensitivity to environmental influences.

Call For A CVS Consultation 516-252-0725

Ask Our Woodbury Optometrist How to Protect Your Kid from CVS

With the increasing use of and dependence upon digital devices it is important to teach your children good habits to protect their eyes while they are young. Understanding the risks and dangers of prolonged screen time should be taught at an early age.  Here are some tips for safe computer and digital device use to reduce digital eye strain and prevent the negative effects it can have on your children’s eyes and vision.

  1. Limit Screen Time:  When possible limit screen time to one or two hours a day, particularly for little children who don’t require computers for school work.
  2. Optimize Your Children’s Work Station: Ensure that children are positioned properly and that lighting is appropriate so that they do not have to bend or stretch in unnatural ways to see the screen adequately. The monitor should be slightly below the child’s eye line and about 18 - 28 inches away.  The chair should also be adjusted so that the child’s arms comfortably rest on the desk and his or her feet touch the floor (when possible).
  3. Have Regular Eye Exams: Monitor your child’s eyesight, particularly an assessment of their near vision skills.
  4. Follow the 20-20-20 Rule: Every 20 minutes, take 20 seconds to look at something at least 20 feet away.
  5. Get in the Habit of Stretching: At regular intervals stretch the back, arms, shoulders and neck to relieve tension and reduce strain or soreness.
  6. Consider Computer Glasses: Computer glasses are made to help the eyes focus more easily on the computer screen.  If your child already wears prescription eyewear, prescription computer glasses are available as well.
  7. Anti-glare: Anti-glare screens or coatings on eyeglasses can reduce glare and eye strain.
  8. Look for signs of eye or vision problems such as blurred vision or eye rubbing, redness or a stiff neck.  If you notice any lasting vision problems see our eye doctor near Woodbury, NY for an examination.

Computer Glasses

woman glasses Computer Vision SyndromeDigital devices have impacted our world in so many positive ways, allowing us to connect, work, play, and get information at the speed of light. In fact, many people have a hard time when they “disconnect.” But all of this good brings with it a measure of concern: Digital Eye Strain or Computer Vision Syndrome.

Nearly 70 percent of U.S. adults experience digital eye strain as a result of the growing use of computers and digital devices. Adults aged 18 to 34 report feeling eye strain at a higher rate (45%) than their older counterparts. New research also suggests that overexposure to blue light, also referred to as high-energy visible or HEV light, may contribute to vision problems such as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Implications are just now being studied, but the short-term impact of digital eye strain affects individuals on a daily basis. Eye care providers are noting a steady rise in the incidence of myopia as well, which research suggests could be correlated to the increase of screen time and near focusing.

Symptoms of Digital Eye Strain include:

  • Headaches
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Sore eyes
  • Dry or watery eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Neck, shoulder or back pain

In addition to these symptoms, emerging research shows that blue light from digital devices causes sleep disturbances by interfering with the REM cycle of sleep.

As people move from their computer to their tablet to their phone, more and more of these symptoms are being seen, and in younger and younger people. Computer glasses offer a solution to reduce the strain on your eyes and your exposure to blue light radiation.

How Computer Glasses Work

Computer glasses reduce eye strain by adjusting the focus slightly so that your eyes feel like they are focusing on something further away. They also have a tint to remove the glare and block blue light from entering into your eyes.

Finding the Right Pair

There are a number of companies that make computer glasses, some that are designed for device users without a prescription or that would wear the glasses with contact lenses. Other manufacturers provide options to incorporate vision prescriptions into the lens.

When shopping for computer glasses you want to make sure you find the right pair. The eyewear should sit nicely on your face and provide a comfortable tint. Here are some of the options available:

  • Single Vision Computer Glasses: Provide the optimum lens power and field of view for viewing your computer screen without straining or leaning in to reduce symptoms of CVS. These are ideal for when the computer is at a fixed working distance and work well if the user needs to view multiple screens at the same working distance.
  • Office Lenses or Progressive Lenses: No-line multifocal eyewear that can be made to correct near, intermediate and some distance vision with a larger intermediate zone for computer vision if indicated. Perfect for those with presbyopia which is the gradual loss of focusing ability that occurs naturally with age. Office lenses work like progressive lenses but provide a wider field of view for intermediate (1-3 m) viewing distance and near working distance (about 40 cm).
  • Blue-Blocking Lenses: Definitely recommended for this electronic age, blue-blocking lenses block blue light emitted from computer screens that is associated with glare, eye strain and possible sleep disturbances.
  • Anti-glare and filtering coatings (treatments): Eliminate reflections from the surfaces of your lens to reduce eye strain and discomfort from glare. Some coatings can also block blue light emitted from computer screens.

While all of these are good options for protecting your eyes, the 20/20/20 rule still applies – after every 20 minutes of near tasks, look at something beyond 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds…it’s a good time to stretch the rest of the body too.

Eye exams are important to test your focusing ability, and to ensure that both eyes are working and focusing at the same place. Many people do not have the same prescription in each eye.

Children and Computer Glasses

Children are using digital devices more than ever and this trend will only continue as smartphones take over and tablet and computer-based learning increases. Their use extends well beyond the school day, as they use computers for homework and gaming and smartphones to text with their friends.

Computer glasses should be used for children proactively before eye strain begins to keep their eyes healthy longer and prevent nearsightedness.

Computer Eyestrain

Digital Computer Strain Woodbury NYDigital eyestrain is an increasingly common condition as digital devices become more ingrained into our daily lives. Digital eyestrain, eye fatigue and computer vision syndrome (CVS) are conditions that result from extended exposure to digital screens such as computers, smartphones, tablets and televisions from a combination of factors including the blue light radiation emitted from the devices and the pixelated content that is difficult for our eyes to focus on.

Symptoms of computer or digital eyestrain tend to be noticed after someone has used a digital device for as little as 2 hours a day. Studies show that 60% of people spend more than 6 hours a day in front of a digital device and 70% of adults report some symptoms of computer vision syndrome (CVS) which include:

    • Eyestrain
    • Headaches
    • Blurred or double vision
    • Physical and mental fatigue
    • Dry or watery eyes
    • Red or irritated eyes
    • Difficulty focusing
    • Sensitivity to light or
    • Neck, shoulder or back pain (caused by compromised posture to adjust to vision difficulty).

Digital eyestrain also impacts your ability to focus and lessens productivity.  Most people do nothing to ease their discomfort from these symptoms because they are not aware of the cause.

Call For A Computer Vision Consultation 516-252-0725

Protecting Your Eyes from Digital EyeStrain and Blue Light

There are a number of options for reducing digital eyestrain and your exposure to blue light which include workspace ergonomics, computer glasses, specialized lenses and protective coatings. The first step is to get a comprehensive eye exam, making sure you speak to your eye doctor about how often you use a computer and digital device. This will help your doctor to get the full picture of your eye and vision needs in order to determine which option is best for you. It was also help the doctor to identify any underlying issues that could be worsening your symptoms.

Alleviating Digital EyeStrain

Workspace Alterations

Proper Lighting and Screen Brightness: You want the screen to be as bright as the surrounding environment or the brightest object in the room (depending on what is most comfortable for you). Therefore interior lighting or sunlight from the outdoors should be dimmed or blocked.  Use fewer light fixtures or lower voltage light bulbs and close curtains or blinds when possible. Adjust the brightness and contrast of your monitor to the levels that are most comfortable.

Reduce Glare: Glare is a significant cause of computer eyestrain so it is important to minimize it as much as possible.  Set up your computer where glare from windows won’t affect your screen or cover windows when this is not possible. Glare can also reflect from walls and shiny finishes on desks and other surfaces.  An anti-glare screen on your monitor or an anti-reflective (AR) or anti-glare coating applied to your eyewear can also help to minimize glare and the strain it causes to your vision.

Screen size and distance: You want to make sure you are using a high quality (such as a flat LCD) screen that has a relatively large display (look for a diagonal screen size of at least 19 inches) and is located directly in front of your line of vision. Your viewing distance should be about an arm’s length away with the top of the monitor at about eye level or slightly below.

Eye Care At Our Optometry Practice Serving Woodbury & Jericho

eye exam Jericho NYKeep Eyes Moist: When viewing a digital screen or monitor for an extended period of time, we tend to blink less frequently (about ⅓ as often as we should). Blinking however, is critical for keeping the eyes moist, which allows them to remain clear and comfortable and to avoid dry eyes, irritation, blurry vision or eye fatigue.

Focus on blinking by setting a timer for every 20 minutes and slowly closing and opening your eyes 10 times. Keep a bottle of artificial tears handy to use when your eyes are feeling dry.

Give Your Eyes a Break: Schedule and take frequent breaks from your screen. Follow the 20-20-20 rule; every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Take this time to stand up and stretch your back, neck and legs as well.

Computer Eyewear Is Available At Optix Family Eyecare

Computer glasses reduce eyestrain by adjusting the focus slightly so your eyes feel like they are focusing on something further away. They also have a tint to remove the glare and block blue light from entering into your eyes. There are a number of options for computer eyewear, both if you need prescription eyewear and not. Speak to our local eye doctor in Woodbury, NY about what the best options are for you. Learn more about computer glasses here.

It is important to know that both adults and children alike are susceptible to computer eyestrain from computers and digital devices. With the growing use of such devices in our everyday lives it is important to start educating ourselves and our children on how to combat the negative effects of these habits. Ask Our Jericho Optometrists About How to Reduce Digital EyeStrain.