Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS), also referred to as Digital Eye Strain, is a relatively new eye health concern that has emerged. CVS results from focusing the eyes on a computer or other display device for protracted, uninterrupted periods of time and the eye’s muscles being unable to recover from the constant tension required to maintain focus on a close object.
This vision phenomenon affects the eye health of a higher volume of baby boomers who have identified symptoms of CVS as blurred vision, eye strain, headaches, dry eyes, neck and shoulder pain. These symptoms tend to be passed off as general fatigue and therefore ignored as being the warning signs of what could lead to more serious and persistent eye problems.
Unlike reading a book, the letters on a digital screen are not as precise or sharply defined, the contrast between letters to the background is reduced and glare or screen reflections tend to make viewing that much more difficult. Additional factors such as poor lighting, screen distance and height, seating posture can place additional demands on the eye’s ability to focus or other eye movement requirements.
According to the American Optometric Association, “The extent to which individuals experience visual symptoms often depends on the level of their visual abilities and the amount of time spent looking at a digital screen. Uncorrected vision problems like farsightedness and astigmatism, inadequate eye focusing or eye coordination abilities, and aging changes of the eyes, such as presbyopia, can all contribute to the development of visual symptoms when using a computer or digital screen device.”
In most cases, CVS can be corrected with eyeglasses or contact lenses that are specially designed to maximize digital viewing and comfort. Simple proactive steps can be taken to further protect your physical well-being and minimize getting CVS. Start by following the “20-20-20 rule” which recommends that every 20 minutes on the computer, spend 20 seconds looking at an object 20 feet away. Adjust the lighting in the room, or use an anti-glare screen to cut the glare and reflections on the computer which should be about 4-5 inches below eye level.
Featured Recipe: Pumpkin Spice Smoothie
Pumpkin provides beta-carotene, a beneficial plant compound that the body converts into vitamin A to help your eye health. You'll also get protein, vitamin K, magnesium, and vitamin D, plus a serving of dairy, all for under 200 calories
Recipe origin: Elizabeth Ward, R.D., @ betteristhenewperfect.com
- 3/4 cup 1% low fat milk
- 1/2 cup plain canned pumpkin
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- pinch ground nutmeg (if desired)
- 4 teaspoons instant whipped cream (if desired)
- Place all the ingredients except the whipped cream in a blender and blend until smooth on high speed until smooth, about 45 seconds to 1 minute. Top with whipped cream and enjoy immediately.