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February 2012
Computer Vision Syndrome
Dr Aashish K Bansal
 
Computer vision syndrome refers to a symptom or a group of symptoms experienced by a person as a result of prolonged working on computer or looking at a computer screen. Although continuous computer usage leads to several problems, ocular disorders are the most common complaints.

Symptoms

Non Ocular
  • Headache
  • Neck Ache
  • Sleepiness
  • Disinclination to work
Ocular
  • Eyestrain
  • Burning sensation in the eye
  • Tearing
  • Redness of the eye
  • Irritation of the eye
  • Dryness of the eye
  • Vision blurring
Ocular surface related causes
Most frequently, symptoms relate to occurrence of dry eye in these persons. Dry eye leads to burning, irritation, redness, reflex tearing and fatigue in the eye and blurring of vision.

Various factors that lead to occurrence of dry eye or dry eye like condition in the eye are:
  • While working on the computer for long periods, a person stares at the screen without blinking which dries out the eye surface.
  • The direction in which the eye looks while working on a computer is horizontal as opposed to a downward stare while reading. This exposes more of the eye area and causes dryness.
  • Air-conditioned office atmosphere along with dust and static build-up dries out the eye.
  • Contact lenses hinder the tear film from wetting the eyes.
  • Cosmetics such as eyeliners or eye shadows block the pores on the eyelid margin leading to drier eyes.
  • Contact lenses hinder the tear film from wetting the eyes.
  • Cosmetics such as eyeliners or eye shadows block the pores on the eyelid margin leading to drier eyes.
These symptoms are more common in females and women from 45-50 years of age are at a higher risk of developing dry eyes.

Eyestrain or Asthenopia related causes
People with marginal deficiency of accommodation or binocular vision display these symptoms when they work for long hours on a computer. Eyestrain leads to eye fatigue, headache, blurred vision and also double vision.
The contributory factors include:
  • Visual disturbances such as a high contrast or high illumination on the computer screen.
  • Tight spacing of letters and lines on the screen.
  • The presence of light characters on a dark background.
  • Glare from any light source which falls directly on the computer screen.
Treatment and prevention
The treatment and / or prevention of these problems require the person to make changes or adjustments in his work pattern and habits.
  • The most important thing is to take breaks in between work. The breaks can be short but should be frequent.
  • Take your eyes off the screen every half an hour and look at a distant point for a few minutes.
  • Always keep a bottle of lubricating eye drops handy and pour a drop or two in each eye every two hours.
  • Make a deliberate effort to blink more often while working.
  • People with refractive errors or presbyopia must use glasses with correct prescription while working. t Position the lighting in such a way that no direct light falls on the computer screen or in your eyes.
  • Use an anti-glare screen to reduce glare and reflection off the screen.
  • Position the computer at a distance of three feet from the eyes and about 10 to 20 degrees below the eye level.
Dr Aashish Kumar Bansal Head - Ophthalmology Services Apollo Health City, Hyderabad

    
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