The majority of us now use computer screens in one form or another, laptop, desktop, a till, ipod, kindle, etc either at work, studying or at home.
Electronic Screen work can cause specific eye strain and problems. Computer vision syndrome is a common eye condition amongst VDU users. Symptoms can range from tired eyes to blurred vision. If you do experience any of the following symptoms you could have computer vision syndrome. If you find it difficult to focus on distant objects after using a computer, you have headaches, eyestrain or dry eyes you need to take extra care when using a VDU to avoid getting computer vision syndrome (CVS).
During your examination we will question what kind of screen work you do and establish if you are experiencing any problems.
We will assess the focus and muscle control of your eyes for the specific type of computer work you do and advise you accordingly.
General Tips for Comfortable Computer Use
- Take breaks. Focusing on the screen for long periods can lead to computer vision syndrome so it is important to take regular breaks. You should rest your eyes every 20 minutes by looking away from the screen.
- Adjust your monitor settings and position. You should adjust your computer so that the monitor settings are comfortable for you. The brightness and contrast can be adjusted so that you are not straining your eyes. Try using a larger font size or using the zoom option on the page layout to make it easier on your eyes. The screen should also be kept clean using special wipes. Your health and safety manager at work will be able to help you ensure the screen is positioned correctly. The screen should be between 33cm and 59cm from your eyes and the centre of the monitor should be 10cm – 15cm below your natural eye level.
- Check the lighting around the computer. There should not be any bright sunlight reflecting onto your screen. Using an anti-glare screen which is fixed onto your monitor is a good idea to reduce any glare and will block any reflections.
- Blink frequently. Remember to blink at regular intervals. When you are concentrating for a long time at a computer your blink rate slows down. Some people also find that they get dry eyes when using computers. This is one of the symptoms of computer vision syndrome but it can be relieved by using eye drops. Ask your optician for advice if you get dry eyes. Those who wear contact lenses may be more prone to dry eye.
- Have regular eye tests. Experts recommend that adults should have an eye test at least every two years. An eye test will check your eyesight and will also look for signs of eye disease. Other health problems may also be detected during an eye test.
If you use computers for work you may be entitled to an eye test paid for by your employer. Under European legislation employees who use VDUs are entitled to an eye test when they begin using VDUs and at regular intervals throughout their employment. If you experience eye problems which may be a result of using VDUs then you will be entitled to an employer funded test. If you then need to wear glasses your employer may pay for a basic pair of glasses if these are solely for VDU use, or your employer may allow you to pay the difference for a pair of your choice.