Is Your Computer Screen Hurting Your Vision?
Computer Vision Syndrome Affects Millions
By Brian Hughes
Is our technology addiction damaging our eyes?
Most of us who spend long hours staring at a computer screen or a smartphone screen inevitably complain of headaches, eyestrain, dry eyes, blurred vision, and difficulty focusing.
Now, the American Optometric Association (AOA) has given these symptoms a name: computer vision syndrome.
Also known as digital eye strain, “computer vision syndrome describes a group of eye conditions and vision-related problems that result from prolonged tablet, e-reader and cell phone use.”
Screen glare, poor lighting, and improper viewing distances can exacerbate computer vision syndrome. While correcting some of these problems (such as adjusting screen brightness settings) can help, as long as our technology addiction continues, we may be setting ourselves up for vision problems. Should businesses be doing more to protect their employees’ vision?
Computer Vision Syndrome: What Should Businesses Do to Protect Employees?
Fundamentally, viewing a computer screen or other digital screen—smartphones, tablets, e-readers, etc.—is different than reading a printed page. The letters on a computer screen are not as sharply defined as the letters on a printed page.
Add in the presence of a glare or contrast problems, and it can be more difficult to clearly distinguish each word. Viewing distances and angles for screens are also different than those for a book or pen and paper; consequently our eyes suffer from additional strain.
Here in the United States, few legal guidelines exist for businesses surrounding the use of computers and protecting employees from potential vision problems.
While most vision symptoms experienced by a computer user is only temporary and will decline after he or she stops using the digital device, stepping away entirely from our computers and smartphones isn’t truly an option for most employees.
Across the pond, the United Kingdom mandate businesses pay for eye tests if employees use computer screens, although the UK-based Vision Express says that corporate vision benefits are still lacking.