2016-03-01 / OnCall

Take It Easy on the Eyes

Paul H. Nancollas, MD, FACS, MS

Q: Like a lot of people, I spend much of my workday looking at my computer screen.  Sometimes when I look away, I have trouble focusing my eyes.  How can I help my eyes while still doing my job?                                                                                  

A: Looking at a computer screen for many hours each day is now part of most everyone’s workday.  Studies have shown that eyestrain and other visual symptoms occurred in 50 to 90 percent of computer workers.  Too much screen time can lead to eye problems, commonly referred to as computer vision syndrome (CVS).

The most common symptoms of CVS are eyestrain, redness, irritation, a burning feeling or dryness, double or blurred vision, increased sensitivity to light, headaches and neck and shoulder pain. These symptoms have been linked to decreased productivity and can be more intense if you are sleep deprived. Even though CVS doesn’t cause permanent eye damage, you’ll still want to lessen its effects on your eyes.  Some simple tips to prevent or improve your symptoms are:

• Change the lighting around you to reduce glare on the computer screen or change the computer settings (brightness, contrast, font size, etc.) to find the best settings for your vision.

• Reposition your computer so that the screen is about an arm’s length away and adjust the monitor so it’s slightly below eye level.

• Give your eyes a break and look away from your computer screen every 20 minutes.  Blink your eyes frequently to keep them lubricated.

• Visit your eye doctor regularly to be sure your prescription is adequate for the work you do, and let your doctor know if you’re having problems viewing your computer screen. 

Paul H. Nancollas, MD, FACS, MS
Geisinger Lewistown 

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