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Post By: Celeste McLaughlin, Ergonomics Manager
Produced by: Solutions Northwest, Inc. (Ergonomics Experts serving Washington, Oregon, and California)

Avoid Computer Syndrome at the Office and Workplace

The average American worker spends 7 hours a day on the computer and 58% percent of adults have experienced digital eye strain or computer vision syndrome as a direct result.” (AOA) 2015 American Eye-Q

Whether you work on an office computer or use your smart phone to communicate, screen time is unavoidable for many American workers. In fact, “the average American worker spends 7 hours a day on the computer” (AOA).  As you may expect, too much screen time puts you at risk for eyestrain disorders like computer vision syndrome.

What is Computer Vision Syndrome?

Computer vision syndrome (CVS) is a term to describe the discomfort or digital eyestrain one may feel after viewing a screen for long periods of time. According to the Mayo Clinic, “CVS is similar to carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive motion injuries you might get at work. It happens because your eyes follow the same path over and over.”  Symptoms include headaches, eyestrain, blurred vision, dry eyes, fatigue, neck and shoulder pain.

Prep your workstation to avoid Computer Vision Syndrome

Now that you have a better idea about what computer vision syndrome is, how can you avoid it if your job requires screen time? Here are some tips our ergonomics experts at SolutionsNW.com have compiled to improve your work station:

  • Eliminate glare on your computer monitor – To reduce screen glare, dim any overly bright lights in the room. However, be sure to keep the room lit enough for reading or writing notes. Using glare reducing monitor overlays or tilting your monitor can sometimes reduce screen glare. It may be necessary to move the monitor and/or work surface to a different location or close the blinds if glare is coming in from the windows.
  • Avoid competing light sources – Make sure your monitor is not directly in front of a window, directly under a bright light, and there are no lights shining directly into your eyes.
  • Consider glasses – If you are having trouble seeing the monitor, it would be a good idea to consult your eye doctor. If you wear bifocals and use a computer regularly, you may want to ask about computer glasses in addition to your regular glasses.
  • Adjust your workstation properly – Your monitor height should ideally be adjustable, although this is not always necessary. The top of the screen should be at eye level for normal vision and reference materials should be as close to the monitor as possible to reduce excessive head and eye movement. If you wear glasses which require you to use the lower portion of the lenses to read the text on the monitor, try lowering the monitor a few inches below eye height.
  • Establish healthy habits – Take breaks from looking at the computer screen and learn how to do eye exercises. Eyes can be exercised to increase strength of focusing and convergence ability, build stamina, and enable you to change focus faster. Check out these 4 Simple eye exercises you can do at work: http://www.solutionsnw.com/2017/04/29/4-eye-exercises-rest-eyes-work/

In Conclusion

Remember to remain proactive for a happy and healthy work environment. For some of these tips, you may need to speak to your office administrator or human resources director. Additionally, you may want to consider contacting an ergonomics expert to assess your work environment.

As always, be sure to share these tips with your co-workers or employees and for more guidance on all work related health and safety issues, visit SolutionsNW.com or Contact Us for more detailed information.

Don’t forget to subscribe to our blog for more ergonomics tips from Solutions Northwest Inc., ergonomics consultants located in Washington State, Northern California, Oregon, Seattle, Olympia, Tacoma, and Portland.

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