Assorted Ideas

What Is Computer Vision Syndrome?

Home » What Is Computer Vision Syndrome?

What is Computer Vision Syndrome? If you spend a lot of your working hours staring at a screen, you probably sometimes have the same dry, burning eyes and blurred vision so many others do.

There’s a name for it: Computer Vision Syndrome.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

by David Stone

Assorted Ideas, Large & Small

We Don’t Know How Big the Problem Is

Burning Eyes, Blurry Vision or Worse?

Computer Vision Syndrome

Estimates for the number of people afflicted with computer vision syndrome vary wildly. 

Worldwide, according to the New York Times, up to 70 million workers are at risk. That’s a big number, but with 7.4 billion people in the world, give or take, at this very moment, that’s less than 1%. Not worth getting excited about, but also, probably, way underestimated.

Also dizzyingly inaccurate is the American Optometric Association’s claim that the “…average American worker spends seven hours a day on the computer.” 

No, I don’t think they mean the same computer, but even so, if you factor in taxi drivers, auto mechanics, furniture movers, acrobats and others who rarely use computers on the job, I believe that number loses its luster in terms of being on the money.

Part of the problem is that there are really no good studies defining the extent of the problem computer vision syndrome creates. Another issue is its definition.

The blurry burning eyes, sure, and blurred vision too. But lower back pain, as multiple sources suggest? That might be something else.

So, What Is Computer Vision Syndrome?

eyeglasses with black frame beside macbook pro
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

The best definition is a set of symptoms common among people who look at computer screens more than three hours a day: “headaches, blurred vision, neck pain, redness in the eyes, fatigue, eye strain, dry eyes, irritated eyes, and double vision,” according to Wikipedia.

Experts are coalescing around three hours a day of looking at screens as where you cross the bar into high risk.

By 7:00 a.m., when the rest of the world starts staggering toward coffee machines and waking up in showers, I’ve normally booked two-plus hours with my laptop. I pass the three hour danger zone soon after breakfast.

Although most of you don’t get up as early as I do, a lot of you pass the three-hour threshold before lunch, in a cubicle, at a desk, inputing and taking output.

Millennials, so frequently glued to their phones, even while crossing the street, race into the danger zone early. Oriented as we are around shared information and resources in client/server networks, collecting three hours is inevitable with many occupations.

And then, of course, during nonworking hours –- and honestly, often during –- we log onto the internet to see what our dozens of friends have posted on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest, to name a smattering few, adding to the visual load.

There’s our problem in a digital nutshell, and don’t expect it to change soon.

Some Solutions for Computer Vision Syndrome

I’m not going to stop researching and writing on my computer, and you’re not likely to stop checking in with your universe of online friends, much less switch to a job without computers.

We are going to remain under the threat of computer vision syndrome. We need to be armed to defend our eyes against the damage.

What can you do? There are some easy solutions.

Since the problem is the result of eye strain from reading not very well-defined letters on a screen, you can give yourself a break with…

  • The 20-20-20 method. Every twenty minutes take your eyes off your computer and stare at something twenty feet away for twenty seconds. It’s simple but effective, if you remember to do it.
  • Blink on purpose as often as you can. Screen watching reduces normal blinking, causing your eyes to dry out.
  • Use eye drops several times a day.
  • Pause a few times every hour and close your eyes for one minute. This little break is surprisingly effective. But caution: in my last office job, closing my eyes was invitation to a nap. If you’re bored silly with your work, you might want to try something else.
  • Buy a pair of over-the-counter glasses with a plus of 1.00 to 1.50. Wear them to add extra strength to your vision.
  • Limit your screen time to what’s necessary. Go out for a walk during lunch, for example, instead of checking in on Facebook or reading the current news. Both can wait.

Conclusion

If you already suffer symptoms of computer vision syndrome, chances are you will continue to. If you don’t, you probably will, soon enough.

Until the next quantum change takes us beyond computers to something that isn’t so hard on our eyes, we need to do whatever we can to aid those two orbs separated by our noses.

The tips above should help, and besides, staring out the window for a few minutes is well-known to provide greater benefits that easing eye strain.

You might start enjoying your job even more.

“Sorry, boss. It’s therapy!”

Also from Assorted Ideas, Large & Small

  • THERE’S NO ‘LABOR SHORTAGE.’ THERE’S A WAGE SHORTAGE.
    To find workers, there’s a free-enterprise solution right at employers’ fingertips: raise pay, improve conditions, and show respect. By Jim Hightower | June 9, 2021 This article first appeared in OtherWords. At a recent congressional hearing on America’s so-called “labor shortage,” megabanker Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase, offered this insight: […]
  • Barriers for Black women set U.S. economy back by $500 billion, report finds
    The persisting wage gap has set Black women — and the American economy as a whole — back for the past six decades, according to a report by financial services firm S&P Global. Chabeli Carrazana Originally published by The 19th The wage gap and barriers to economic mobility […]
  • The Secret IRS Files: Trove of Never-Before-Seen Records Reveal How the Wealthiest Avoid Income Tax
    by Jesse Eisinger, Jeff Ernsthausen and Paul Kiel Originally published in ProPublica ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for The Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox.   Series: The Secret IRS Files Inside the Tax Records of the .001% […]
  • Want to know the deepest truths? Think of yourself as God
    Think of yourself as God. That is, assuming you are not a deity, but a regular individual living the best life you can. Wouldn’t it be better, though, knowing more about what makes you something special, a spectacular universe managed by you? And how favorably you compare with […]
  • What Are The Three Dumbest Ideas About Extraterrestrials And UFOs?
    The dumbest ideas about extraterrestrials are so massively stupid, they generally pass by without notice. Press and television reports always miss them, but as you’ll see, they’re really obvious. By David Stone Assorted Ideas Large & Small Dumbest Ideas About Extraterrestrials and UFOs: Item #1 Here’s what got […]

1 reply »

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.