Sheryl Moore, Health and Safety Coordinator

Have you ever wondered why your eyes water or your pupils hurt after long periods of time staring at the computer, or your vision becomes blurred and tension headaches seem to creep in from nowhere?

Now there is a name associated with these types of symptoms and others that relate to our eyes. According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), some of us are experiencing "Computer Vision Syndrome," or CVS, a complex of eye and vision-related problems associated with using a computer.

According to the AOA:

The elements of working a computer which make it visually demanding include frequent saccadic eye movements (ocular motility), continuous eye focusing (accommodation), and alignment (vergence) demands. Problems occur when the visual demands of the task exceed the visual abilities of the individual to comfortably perform the task.

Kent Daum, O.D., PhD., an associate professor of the School of Optometry at the University of Alabama who has studied CVS, said, "Data strongly suggests that improving the visual status of workers using computers results in greater productivity in the workplace as well as improved visual comfort."

The AOA recommends eliminating CVS through the following steps:

Prescription lenses: Even for computer workers who do not normally need glasses at home, mild prescription lenses can reduce vision stress.

Computer glasses for the job: Different prescriptions may be required for the type of work performed on computers by workers who already require and wear prescription lenses.

Breaks: Taking alternative task breaks throughout the day.

Lighting: Reducing room lighting to half of normal office levels by removing or reducing wattage light bulbs. Glare screens can minimize computer glare. Adjusting blinds also reduces glare.

Copy holders: Using adjustable copy holders to place reference material at the same distance from eyes as the computer screen to keep eyes from constant refocusing.

Cleaning: Frequently clean your computer screens.

Source: AOA.org; Occupational Health and Safety, Sept. 2002, ErgoWeb.com

Have you gotten your eyes checked lately by Vision Care Plan
Do you wear your VDT glasses at your computer work station?

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