Eric's Corner

Almost everyone has heard of ergonomic chairs and wrist rests. But what about ergonomics for the eyes? While it may be a new term, computer vision syndrome (CVS) is a reality of life for millions of Americans. In fact, it may be the most frequent complaint of office workers.

A recent study by the National Institute of Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH) shows that nearly 90% of employees who work with computers for more than three hours a day suffer from some form of eye trouble. Although computer usage has never been shown to actually damage the eye, the strain it places on eye muscles can take a toll, not only on the individual's vision, but also on job performance. An employee who cannot see comfortably is not going to be as productive or as steady as one who can.

When it comes to easing eye strain, blinking is the key. When computer users sit in front of a screen for an extended period of time, they blink less causing eye moisture to evaporate. The result is often a condition called dry eyes which manifests itself in numerous ways including itching, burning, double vision, color fringes and heavy, blurry, gritty or fatigued sensations.

The Better Vision Institute offers these tips to workers who want to take control of their own eye health:

  • Avoid glare. Never keep a bright light directly behind the screen, and never place a terminal in front of a large window.

  • Do not work in the dark. The contrast between computer-generated light and lack of background light strains eyes.

  • Break at least once an hour for about 10 minutes and blink frequently.

  • Discuss computer-related vision problems with an eyecare professional and determine if prescription eyewear will meet your needs.

  • Consider whether the eyewear is to be used to help see up close or at a distance.