Many of us spend most of our waking life staring at a computer screen. But this isn’t good news for our eyesight. Here, we explain the effects of computer use on eye health and vision and what you can do to mitigate the damage.
If you’ve ever noticed symptoms like eye strain, headaches, red eyes or blurry vision after a long session at the screen, you’re not alone. With up to 70 million people worldwide experiencing the effects of extended computer use, so-called computer vision syndrome (CVS) is an occupational hazard of the internet age.
Why does computer use affect our vision in this way? It’s all down to how we view the screen. You may think of browsing a screen or tablet as a similar process to reading a paper document. However, our eyes don’t see it quite like that.
While printed characters are easy on the eye, with high definition and a good level of contrast, letters on a screen are more of a challenge. With lower resolution and varying brightness, characters on your computer are bright in the centre but their edges are blurred. When we view words on a computer screen, our eyes have to adjust multiple times in order to focus properly – leading to eye strain if we don’t take regular screen breaks to give them the rest they need.
While cutting down dramatically on screen use may be the ideal remedy for strained eyes, it’s not practical for people with desk-based occupations. There are, however, many practical steps you can take to reduce the effects of computer use on eye health and vision.
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