“The monitor should be at least 20 inches from the eyes, after every 20 minutes of looking at the computer one should take a short break and look at something 20 feet away this relaxes the eyes and decreases fatigue and headache, during the break close the eyes and move the eyeballs in clockwise and anticlockwise direction doing this could help in avoiding Computer Vision Syndrome” says Dr Pankaj Ranjan, eye surgeon at the Department of Ophthalmology in the Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi.
Dr Ranjan describes Computer Vision Syndrome(CVS) and why it is a cause of concern “Computer Vision Syndrome(CVS), also known as digital eyestrain is a group of eye and vision related problems that results from prolonged computer, tablet, laptop, e-reader even by bigger display smart phones. Studies show that 60-90% of people suffer some problem or the other due to prolonged computer exposure. Those who use the computer more than two hours a day are at high risk”.
He gives some more tips to avoid CVS related problems “The Monitor should be more than 25 inches from the eyes ideally the monitor should be 6 inches below the eye level, if level of the screen is high the eye remains wide open which causes faster drying of the eye moisture. Make a habit of frequent blinking as blinking restores moisture to the eyes”.
He says that 60 million plus people are affected worldwide due to this and every year around 1 million people are added to the list.
“In India around 20-25 million are suffering from this and the number is bound to rise in the future”. He describes it as a significant public health problem that involves huge economic costs as productivity of the employees decreases.It causes expenses to the company and employees, leads to stress and negatively affects the quality of life”.
Dr Ranjan explains that the need to focus hard at the computer screen means that rate of blinking goes down which leads to eyes drying up “Due to constant focus and refocus eyes get strained and fatigued, the normal rate of blinking is 16-20/minute but while using computer it could be as low as 4-6/minute. Low blinking rate causes the eye tear film to evaporate as moisture is lost what results is ‘dry eyes”.
For avoiding CVS he say not only precautions for eye health but also the office set up should be managed “We require a multidisciplinary approach, not only precautions for eye health but attention has to be given on properly designing the workplace. The setting chair should have an arm rest, suspended lights are a better option, also curtains should be drawn on the windows and one should avoid sitting in front of the AC. Computer setting also should be appropriate the monitor ought to be clean, brightness should be moderate the same goes for colour contrast. Background illumination also should be moderate” he said.
Dr Ranjan highlights some of the faulty habits which aggravate the risk of Computer Vision Syndrome “Working for a long time without taking any break, not maintaining adequate distance from the computer, glare of the screen, having a faulty posture, the angle of the screen, illumination of the work place and not blinking the eyes adequately are the main risk factors”.
He picks prolonged viewing from near distance as the most common cause for the problem and described why working on computers is tiring to the eyes “Characters on the computer screen are made of tiny dots called pixels, these are brightest at the center, towards the periphery the brightness diminishes. This is the reason why it is tougher to focus on a computer image while focusing on a printed image is easier”.
The posture one has during working is very important as incorrect posture produces neck and shoulder pain.
He said that people should not be shy of using Anti fatigue glasses as these significantly reduce glare and confirmed that artificial tears are best agents for restoring eye moisture.