If you spend long periods of time staring at your computer screen, you could have computer vision syndrome. You’ve worked at your desk all day, and by the time 5 p.m. rolls around, you can hardly see straight anymore. Your eyes are tired, red, and irritated. You’re not alone; in fact, the majority of office workers suffer from computer vision syndrome, a recent term to describe computer-related eyestrain.\nSymptoms and Complications of Computer Vision Syndrome\nAlthough computer vision syndrome (CVS) likely doesn’t cause permanent damage, it can lead to:\n\nHeadaches\nTemporary blurred vision\nNeck and shoulder pain\nWork-related errors\n\nComputer Vision Syndrome Causes and Risk Factors\nIn addition to working at computers, you also are at risk for developing computer vision syndrome if you:\n\nRegularly use a smart phone, e-reader, or tablet\nWork in poor lighting\nHave poor posture while sitting at your desk\nAlready have other vision-related problems\n\nComputer Vision Syndrome at a Glance\nMore than likely, CVS is not something that you need to consult your eye doctor about. By adapting a few simple changes you should be able to reduce the discomfort you’re experiencing. These include:\n\nPosition your computer so that the screen is easier on your eyes. Place the monitor directly in front of you, between 18 to 24 inches from your eyes. The top of the screen should be at eye level.\nMove your keyboard. Your keyboard should be directly in front of the monitor with your reference materials placed at the same level, angle, and distance from your eyes.\nMinimize glare from bright lights by positioning your light source at a right angle to the monitor.\nTaking periodic breaks from the screen and focus on more distant objects.\nSchedule a five-minute break every hour. Stand up and move around or just lean back and close your eyes for a few minutes.\nBlink more. If your eyes are dry, you’re probably blinking less than normal when you look at the screen. Make an effort to blink frequently and use artificial tears if necessary.\n\nIn addition to these approaches, don’t forget to get regular eye exams. To schedule an appointment at the UPMC Eye Center, call 412-647-2200.