How to Ease Your Computer Eye Strain

If you use a computer more than two hours a day, you could be suffering from Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS).

The American Optometric Association says CVS, a new and growing condition, impacts as many as 70 percent of those who work on their computers for at least two hours each day.

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But what can you do to be easier on your eyes?

CBS News Medical Correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton explained on "The Early Show" how you can ease the eye strain from our digital addiction.

Ashton explained CVS is a term coined in 2005 to describe various symptoms that come with sitting in front of a computer, hand-held device, iPhone, iPodfor hours every day.

"It's a new and growing condition that's a byproduct of modern technology," she said. "The most common symptoms are: eye strain, dry or irritated eyes, fatigue, and headaches."

Ashton said some people are more prone to CVS than others.

She said, "According to eye care specialists (at the University of Pennsylvania) almost 71 percent of those who have reported experiencing the symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome wear eyeglasses or contact lenses. These people also report more eye, neck and back pain than people who do not use optical aids. Also, though heredity seems to play a significant role in the development of myopia in childhood, some research suggests that eye strain, and specifically computer eye strain, may also be involved."

But what can you do? Sometimes prolonged computer use is necessary.

Ashton suggested these tips by VSP Vision Care for easing the strain:

1. Blink Often: When looking at a computer or hand-held digital device, it's common for you to blink two to three times less than you normally would. This can lead to "dry eye." Blinking bathes your eyes in tears, and tears are naturally therapeutic for the eyes.

2. The 20/20/20 Rule: When spending long periods in front of a digital device, every 20 minutes, spend 20 seconds looking at something 20 feet away to allow your eyes to rest.

3. Ensure Proper Lighting: Poor lighting often causes eye strain. To help ease the strain on your eyes, keep bright lighting overhead to a minimum and position your desk lamp to shine on your desk, and not at you. Position your computer screen in a way that reduces reflections and glare from windows or overhead lights.

4. Location of computer screen: Most people find it more comfortable to view a computer when the eyes are looking downward. Optimally, the computer screen should be 15 to 20 degrees below eye level (about 4 or 5 inches) as measured from the center of the screen and 20 to 28 inches from the eyes.
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