Learn more about computer vision syndrome and preventing computer strain

Odds are, you’re reading this article on a computer. If not, perhaps you’re using a smartphone or tablet.

In this age of electronic information, computers, and new technology, like digital monitors and screens are practically everywhere.

Constant use of a computer, phone, or tablet, however, can contribute to computer strain, or computer vision syndrome (CVS). And research shows that between 50 percent and 90 percent of us who spend hours in front of a computer screen share some or all of its symptom.

For more information, or to find a primary care doctor, visit www.UPMC.com/primarycare or call 1-855-676-UPMCPCP (8762-727)

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What Is Computer Strain?

Computer strain, or CVS, is a collection of symptoms you may experience after frequent and prolonged use of a computer or digital screen.

When you stare at a digital screen for an extended period, your eyes focus and track content back and forth, often with little or no break. After a while, your eye muscles begin to tire, and symptoms of computer strain may develop.

What Are Symptoms of Computer Strain?

Using your computer or smartphone throughout the day can cause symptoms of CVS, which include:

  • Mild to severe headaches
  • Pain in the back of your neck and/or back
  • Burning or dry eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Trouble focusing your eyes in one position
  • Stiff finger joints

Over time, constant eye strain from staring at a computer screen can contribute to long-term vision problems.

To prevent further damage to your eyes, take a moment to learn simple ways to reduce computer strain.

RELATED: The Surprising Benefits of Standing Desks

How to Get Relief from Computer Strain

The best remedy for computer strain is to reduce the amount of time you spend on your computer, phone, or tablet. Simply giving your eyes a rest is the best way to lessen computer strain.

Even if you work on a computer all day, you can minimize computer strain.

  • Adjust screen brightness. Lower the brightness setting on your computer or phone to reduce the amount of glare coming from the screen. You may need to reposition the screen if there are bright lights in your workspace or open windows that intensify screen glare.
  • Check your posture. Poor posture in front of a computer can cause neck and back pain as well as headaches. When working at your desk, make sure to roll your shoulders back and sit up straight. Adjusting the height of your computer monitor can help to reduce strain on your neck.
  • Take frequent breaks. If you spend hours a day on a computer be sure to take regular breaks. For example, after working for 20 minutes, look up from your computer screen for at least 20 seconds before going back to work.
  • Make an eye appointment. If you’re concerned about the effects of computer strain, make an appointment with your eye doctor to talk about other options for treating computer strain.

For more information, or to find a primary care doctor, visit www.UPMC.com/primarycare or call 1-855-676-UPMCPCP (8762-727)

About Primary Care

The relationship with a patient and their primary care doctor can be extremely valuable, and that’s what you get with UPMC Primary Care. When you work with a primary care physician (PCP), you develop a lasting relationship. Your doctor will get to know you and your history and can plan your treatments accordingly. Our PCPs offer a variety of services, including preventive care and treatment for both urgent and chronic conditions. With dozens of UPMC Primary Care locations across our network of care, you can find a PCP close to you. Schedule an appointment today.