The main causes of computer vision syndrome include an unsuitable environment and the improper use of eyeglasses or contact lenses. With a few simple changes, the environmental causes of CVS can easily be eliminated. 

Solutions for Computer Vision Syndrome

Reducing glare and harsh reflections on the computer screen by modifying the lighting in the room, closing window shades, changing the contrast or brightness of the screen, or attaching a filter or hood to the monitor. This will not only help eyes focus better, but may also eliminate the need to squint while looking at the screen. The visor test can help determine if the current lighting in the room is a problem. The test is conducted by cupping hands over the eyes like a baseball cap to block the lights while looking at the monitor. If an improvement is immediately noticed, then lighting changes should be made.

Moving the computer screen to improve the comfort of the eyes. The screen should be at or just beyond an arm's length away (about 20 to 26 inches) to give the eyes a comfortable focusing distance. The screen should also stand straight in front of the face instead of off to the side to ease eyestrain. The center of the monitor should be about four to eight inches lower than the eyes to allow the neck to relax and to lessen the exposed surface area of the eye, which will reduce dryness and itching.

Placing reference materials as close to the screen as possible. This will lessen the need to constantly refocus the eyes as well as the need to swing the head back and forth between the materials and the monitor. Using a document holder beside the monitor will minimize head and eye movements and focusing changes, and will decrease muscle fatigue, headaches and eye strain.

Improving posture by using adjustable equipment to reduce strain on the back, neck, shoulders and eyes. Adjust the height of the chair so the knees are bent at a 90-degree angle with the feet flat on the floor or footrest. Sit straight against a backrest with the forearms on armrests and the elbows bent at a 90-degree angle. The keyboard and mouse should be located lower than the elbow and within easy reach of the hands. The head should be tilted slightly down while looking at the center of the computer screen.

Giving the eyes and body frequent breaks from computer work to reduce eye and muscle fatigue. Since prolonged computer use requires a person to sit in the same position for an extended period, taking time out to stand, stretch and look around will not only help muscles, but will also give the eyes a chance to relax. If the opportunity to get up for full breaks is not frequently available, then "mini" breaks will suffice by looking up from the computer into the distance about every 15 minutes. Frequent blinking or the use of eye drops, too, will keep eyes from drying out and feeling itchy.

Finding and improving other problems that may be affecting the eyes, including drafty, dry or dusty air. Try to keep air vents or drafts from blowing into the face and drying out the eyes. Low humidity or fumes in a room can also dry eyes out faster than usual. Dust, too, can irritate eyes as well as accumulate on the computer monitor, which will decrease the sharpness of the screen and may cause eyestrain.

  • Eyeglasses

    A visit to an ophthalmologist to receive or update a prescription is the first step in improving the effectiveness of optical aids in eliminating the symptoms of computer vision syndrome.

  • Contact Lenses

    Learn what steps you can take to improve the effectiveness of your contact lenses while preventing computer vision syndrome. 

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