Computer vision syndrome is a particular type of eyestrain that affects more than 70 percent of the Americans who work on computers as part of their daily routines — according to the American Optometric Association.
Causes of Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS)
At the root of the problem with CVS is the fact that the brain and eyes react differently to words printed on paper than they do to words on a computer screen. It’s a little more complex than that though. Images and words on a computer screen force the eyes to focus constantly despite the fact that our eyes want to return to a resting state away from the brighter lights of the computer screen. The resulting focusing and refocusing is what leads to eyestrain.
Symptoms of CVS
Employees who suffer from CVS may complain of eyestrain, blurred vision, tense muscles, headaches, itchy eyes, and fatigue. If the condition continues without significant relief efforts, the CVS symptoms may become more extreme and include migraines, cluster headaches, nausea, and loss of appetite according to VisionRX.com.
Combatting Computer Vision Syndrome in the Workplace
It’s important for any business owner whose employees in the workplace use computers frequently to take efforts to prevent or diminish the level of eyestrain employees experience. This increases productivity, decreases absenteeism, and can potentially reduce workers’ compensation claims. It’s a win-win for employers to take a few steps now, to prevent CVS from developing.
What kind of steps should you take? These are a few excellent options that are fairly easy to implement.
1) Provide tools that allow employees to position copy side by side with the computer screen so that they aren’t constantly glancing up and down. The act of continuously focusing and refocusing between the desk and computer screen is a continuous strain on the eyes.
2) The American Optometric Association recommends that employees who work on computers for long periods take breaks and rest their eyes fifteen minutes for every two hours of continuous computer use. They should also look off into the distance for 20 seconds after 20 minutes of steady computer viewing.
3) Invest in anti-glare computer screens. Combine that with the reduction of environmental glare from bright wall colors or bright overhead lighting that casts shadows for even greater impact. Also, consider providing anti-glare computer glasses for employees or encouraging those who wear glasses to consider anti-reflective coatings for their lenses.
4) Educate employees about the dangers of CVS and eyestrain so they can make informed decisions about their eye health. Remind them that something as simple as blinking often can keep their eyes moist and reduce strain from constant computer use.
Getting the facts about computer vision syndrome can help you make your workplace a happier, healthier, and more productive place to work. It’s worth taking a few steps to ensure better eye health for all your employees.