Computers and Vision

More than half of all computer operators experience eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision and other symptoms directly and indirectly related to increased, sustained nearpoint visual stress.

Visual stress also may underlie complaints of general body fatigue, reduced efficiency at work and higher error rates as the day progresses.


Optometrists have found that most of these symptoms are alleviated through a combination of correcting workstation conditions, posture, stress-relieving lenses prescribed specifically for computer operation, and in some cases, through improving visual skills with vision therapy.

Today, the majority of people, including children, are computer users. If what has been learned about vision and computers is ignored, millions will discover that visual stress can generate serious, often permanent vision and eye problems.

Humans have hunter-soldier eyes, essential to survival for spotting game or danger at a distance. But during the past half century, nearly all our work and much of our recreation has shifted to seeing within arm's length.

The resulting nearpoint visual stress, despite 20/20 distance visual acuity, often produces both temporary and sometimes permanent adaptive changes, including nearsightedness, suppressed vision in one eye, poor eye teaming and reduced performance both at work and at play.

Although computer manufacturers have vastly improved their products, some computer operators find their existing visual difficulties with nearpoint visual activities are complicated by sometimes blurred characters, an increase in the number and complexity of necessary eye movements and focusing shifts, and by sometimes poor lighting conditions, glare and distracting reflections. Flicker also plays a role in visual stress.

Changes in the way work is done will affect many first-time computer users. Jobs which formerly allowed physical movement and opportunities to look away from near work now require extended, tiring concentration on a computer screen image.

Many people who could handle the visual stress of intermittent near work simply cannot deal with prolonged nearpoint tasks.
 
Direct Visual Signs and Symptoms
Headache with/after computer use
Eyestrain | Irritated eyes | Blurred vision
Slow focus from screen to distant objects
Losing place moving eyes from screen
Difficulty seeing clearly after computer use
Occasional or frequent doubling of vision
Changes in color perception
Lens prescription fails to relieve symptoms
Indirect, Visually-related Symptoms
Neck or shoulder tension, pain
Back pain
Excessive physical fatigue using computer
Irritability increases when using computer
Pain in arms, wrists or shoulders when working
Increased nervousness
Lowered visual efficiency
More frequent visual efficiency errors
 
If you suffer from any combination of direct or indirect conditions, it is time to have a Developmental Optometrist evaluate your visual skills and performance.

The optometrist's recommendation may be the key to making work less stressful, less painful, and more productive. And, you may avoid the onset of more permanent visual and eye conditions now observed by optometrists among their computer-using patients

Symptoms and discomfort are the warning signs that something must be done to reduce the possibility of serious, permanent vision or eye problems that can alter and diminish the quality of life.

Computer Workstation Suggestions
Keyboard, screen and copy should, ideally, be at equal distances from the eyes.

Computer screens should be slightly below eye level (about 10-20 degrees). Copy should be at the same level as the screen.

Locate keyboard so wrist and lower arm are parallel to the floor or angled slightly downward.

Chairs should provide proper back support and be adjustable without tools by the operator.

Adjust chair height so feet are flat on the floor with thighs parallel to the floor.

Adjust the worktable so legs and knees clear its underside.

Screen brightness and contrast should be adjusted by the operator for maximum viewing comfort.

Each workstation should have an adjustable shaded copy lamp that can be aimed by the operator without causing screen reflections or direct glare into the eyes.

Eliminate glare and screen reflections by moving or tilting the screen. Overhead lights may need baffles. Try not to face toward windows or bright light sources.

Operators should face into an open space beyond the computer screen.

Clean computer screen regularly; they attract and accumulate dust.

Adjust screen focus and image alignment frequently to reduce visual stress.

Vision and performance are enhanced by taking a short break (15 minutes) every two hours. Demanding computer workloads usually require a short change from work each hour. Stop every 15 minutes to look up and away from the computer to focus on a distant object.
 
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We will make every effort to take a complete approach to your eye care. This means that we will take the time to not only understand your eye health and visual needs, but your general health, lifestyle, and dietary habits as well. This is somewhat rare in health care today, but we think you will find it to be a refreshing change.

Seeing 20/20 doesn't necessarily mean your eyes are healthy. Many eye problems can only be detected during a thorough eye exam. Our eye doctor uses the latest innovative diagnostic equipment to detect even the smallest changes in your vision and eye health. We will evaluate your risk factors for diseases of the eye. It's important to know that diseases of the eye can also be an indicator of general health issues.

Schedule your Eye health and Vision appointment today with our experienced eye care providers at our Reno or Winnemucca Optometrist offices and give your vision the level of care and attention it deserves.

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Black Rock Vision Center - Reno 3201 Lakeside Dr. Reno, NV 89509 Phone: (775) 825-0559 Fax: (775) 829-7918
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