How much time do you spend in front of a screen every day? Have you ever added it up? Believe it or not, the average American spends around seven hours a day staring at a digital screen. Do you ever find yourself rubbing the back of your neck and wishing away a nagging headache? The truth is, those symptoms, along with dry eyes and blurred vision, are common signs of Computer Vision Syndrome, also referred to as Digital Eye Strain.

Many of us find ourselves sitting in front of a computer all day, searching our phones for a new dinner recipe, and even enjoying a book on our tablet before bed. All these gadgets make it so easy to not look at a screen. Many of us also struggle with frequent headaches and blurred vision at times. But most of us would have never thought that it could be from staring at a computer screen all day.

Your eyes have to work harder when viewing a computer or digital screen. According to the American Optometric Association, “the unique characteristics and high visual demands of computer and digital screen device viewing make many individuals susceptible to the development of vision-related symptoms.” Additionally, individuals who have uncorrected vision problems such as farsightedness, astigmatism, inadequate eye coordination, and aging eyes can suffer worse from Computer Vision Syndrome.

Most of the symptoms of this condition are caused by poor lighting, glare on a digital screen, improper viewing distances, poor seating posture, uncorrected vision problems, or an overall combination of these factors. Symptoms can be treated and even prevented though. An accurate diagnosis can be made during your yearly eye exam, which is also important to help diagnose any other eye conditions you might have.

The American Optometric Association, together with the eye doctors at The Eye Center at Southwest Health, recommend following the 20-20-20 rule to prevent Computer Vision Syndrome. The 20-20-20 rule encourages individuals to take a 20-second break to view something 20 feet away every 20 minutes. It’s also not a bad idea to stretch and reevaluate the rest of your body at the same time. Get up and stretch your back, neck, and arms while you’re at it. And, if you think about it, you probably get up every 20-30 minutes anyways to walk to the printer, the washroom, a co-worker’s desk, etc. Use that time to re-focus your eyes and give them a break from the screen for a few seconds.

The best way to keep your eyes healthy is to get them checked regularly. After all, you only get one pair!

If you are concerned about Computer Vision Syndrome or any other vision problems please contact The Eye Center at Southwest Health where we specialize in advanced care for your eyes, from exams to surgery to glasses and everything in between. You and your vision are the focus of everything we do. Helping you see life more clearly is always our #1 priority. Call 608-342-2020 today.

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