Nearly 60% of Americans use some kind of digital device — a phone, computer, tablet, TV — for at least 5 hours a day. All that screen time can result in eye irritation and dryness. Dry eyes and eye strain have become so common that researchers have created a name for it: computer vision syndrome (CVS).

What is Computer Vision Syndrome?

Computer vision syndrome (CVS) is an eye condition often experienced after staring at a computer screen too long. It’s characterized by eye strain and dry eyes.

With more people working and studying at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, eye doctors are reporting a significant rise in the number of adults and children with these symptoms.

CVS typically occurs when looking at a screen at arm’s length or closer.

The symptoms of CVS include common dry eye symptoms such as:

  • Red, watery eyes
  • Burning or stinging eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Blurred vision
  • The feeling of having something in your eyes

Dry eye from computer use is often caused by a lack of blinking. Blinking is important for good eye health because it rejuvenates the tear film on your eyes, protecting them from damage.

5 Tips to Prevent CVS

Luckily, CVS can usually be managed  with just a few simple adjustments to your screen time. .

  1. Take breaks and blink often. Follow the 20-20-20 rule to prevent you from staring at your screen for too long. Take a break from your computer or device for 20 seconds, every 20 minutes, and look at something at least 20 feet away.
  2. Adjust your angle. Make sure your screen is 20-28 inches from your eyes and that the center of the screen is 4-5 inches lower than eye level.
  3. Use a cool-air humidifier. A humidifier adds moisture to the air, so your eyes don’t dry out as quickly.
  4. Reduce glare. Your eyes work harder to read when there is glare reflecting off your screen. Make sure your screen is positioned in a way that prevents glare from windows and lighting. You can add a glare filter to your screen to prevent glare as well.
  5. Consider computer glasses. Computer glasses allow your eyes to focus on a computer screen with less effort. Another option for computer glasses are lightly tinted lenses to reduce glare and a blue-light filter may also reduce exposure to potentially harmful blue light emitted by digital devices.

Making sure to take regular breaks from your screen time will give your eyes a rest and give you a chance to move your body. To learn more about computer vision syndrome and receive treatment to alleviate dry eye symptoms and eye strain, contact The Dry Eye Center at Sunrise Specialty Lens & Dry Eye Institute.

The Dry Eye Center at Sunrise Specialty Lens & Dry Eye Institute serves patients from Sunrise, Plantation, Davie, and , all throughout Florida.

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