Computer Vision Syndrome


Asheville, NC (CompNewsNetwork) - According to a recent article in HR News by Beth Mirza computer vision syndrome (CVS) is more common than carpal tunnel syndrome and other musculoskeletal disorders.

According to the American Optometric Association, CVS is characterized by visual symptoms, which result from interaction with a computer display or its environment. In most cases, symptoms occur because the visual demands of the task exceed the visual abilities of the individual to comfortably perform the task. Symptoms of CVS are eyestrain and fatigue, dry eyes, headaches and neck and shoulder pain.

The American Optometric Association notes that video display terminal (VDT) related vision problems are at least as significant a health concern as the musculoskeletal disorders, such as carpal tunnel syndrome that receive more attention. “The vision problems experienced by VDT workers are varied and are difficult to grasp and understand by those who don't specialize in vision. The misunderstanding may also be the result of unfounded reports of cataracts caused by VDTs, exaggerated manufacturer claims about the need for UV and other radiation protections, and misleading statements about the effects of specialty tinted and coated lenses (e.g., computer glasses) among other products.”

In most cases, CVS is treatable and modifications to the workplace and regular practices can help. According to VSP VisionCare some simple steps to combat CVS include:

  • Keep blinking. It washes your eyes in naturally therapeutic tears. 
  •  â€¨Remember 20-20-20. Every 20 minutes, spend 20 seconds looking at something 20 feet away, minimum. 
  • Get the right light. Good lighting isn't just flattering – it's healthy for your eyes. So, keep bright lighting overhead to a minimum. Keep your desk lamp shining on your desk, not you. Try to keep window light off to the side, rather than in front or behind you. Use blinds and get a glare screen. Position the computer screen to reduce reflections from windows or overhead lights.
  • Monitor your monitor. Keep it at least 20 inches from your eyes. Center should be about 4 to 6 inches below your eyes. Also, make sure it's big enough and with just the right brightness and contrast.  Adjust the screen so you look at it slightly downward and are about 24 to 28 inches away. Adjust the screen settings to where they are comfortable — contract polarity, resolution, flicker, etc.
  • Wear those computer specs. Your doctor can prescribe a pair of glasses just for seeing the computer screen well. If necessary, wear the appropriate corrective lenses while at the computer.
  • Have a thorough annual WellVision Exam.

This material is provided as general information and is not a substitute for legal or other professional advice. 

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Kevin Ring is the Lead Workers' Compensation Analyst for the Institute of WorkCompProfessionals, the Asheville, NC-based organization that trains insurance agents to help employers reduce Workers' Compensation expenses. A licensed insurance agent, he leads workshops, analyzes Workers' Comp programs and is the co-developer of a Workers' Comp software suite that helps insurance professionals in working with employers. He can be contacted at 828-274-0959 or

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