After 8 hours of staring at the computer, another half of staring at personal smartphones and tablets, many people develop Computer Vision Syndrome. But what is it? The habit of staring at a screen constantly puts a strain on our eyes and in some cases can lead to the development of a real syndrome, called Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS), which combines visual, neurological and motor symptoms and affects with different intensity between 70 and 90 percent of people who spend a lot of time in front of a screen, often unaware of suffering from it. We talked about it with Professor Paolo Vinciguerra, ophthalmologist at Humanitas.
Symptoms of CVS
These range from visual and neurological symptoms and problems with the musculoskeletal system due to positions taken for too long.
Common symptoms include burning eyes, vision fatigue, headaches and neck pains due to the position of the head to secure the monitor. Symptoms can be completely transient and go away as soon as you relax and move away from the monitor.
When you look at a screen for a long time, you close your eyes less frequently. Under normal conditions we open and close our eyes between 17 and 20 times per minute, while when we work at the computer we go 12-15 times, creating an overload for the sight.
The effects of electronic devices for the vision
The first studies on the effects of electronic devices on human vision date back more than 65 years. In CVS the symptoms affecting the eyes are the most frequent: double or blurred vision, burning, itching, redness of the eyeball and dryness. They usually occur after two or three hours of work and in many cases affect the performance of those who suffer, with a decrease in concentration combined with feelings of anxiety and discomfort.
Besides a predisposition, for example if you have particular vision defects, there can be many causes for these symptoms:
-Emissions of light from screens have a strong blue component, which is not very natural and fatiguing for the eyes.
– Monitors with poor resolution and characters that do not have well-defined contours.
– A lower frequency of eyelid closure can contribute to dryness and fatigue, and in some people it makes redness more likely.
Remedies for computer vision syndrome
Although annoying, CVS does not create long-term damage, but it can certainly facilitate the onset of other diseases, such as dry eye syndrome.
To give your eyes a break, here are a few possible remedies:
– Every 20 minutes or so it can be useful to observe something at a distance of about ten metres for at least 20 seconds. If you then take the opportunity to get up and move around a bit, the neck will also benefit.
– Even the use of a high-definition screen can make it less difficult to read on the screen, thanks to the more defined characters and greater contrast. The monitor should then be kept at a distance of 50 or 70 centimeters from the eyes, with its upper edge at the same height as the eyes, so as to keep the head slightly tilted down.
– The brightness of the screen should be slightly higher than that of the surrounding environment, and the working environment should be not too bright and without reflections that confuse the view, forcing the eyes to make greater efforts.
– There is also software that can make the light emitted by monitors more yellow.
– Finally, to improve posture, the advice is to keep your back and head backwards while using your smartphone, bringing his screen closer to your face and not vice versa: it involves a little extra effort for your arms, but the health the advantage will be tangible.