Chief Editor


With changes in technology and lifestyle, working on computers and mobile phones for major part of the day (and night) has become part of our daily routines. For some it is part of the job and for others it may be just a hobby or pastime. Whatever the reason but almost all of us have now become hooked to the screen and in case of younger generation this has become a literal addiction. This has also given rise to a group of disorders known as Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) that, according to some studies, is known to affect from 50 to 90% of computer and mobile phone users. As depicted by the name it is not a single disease but a group of symptoms such as blurred vision, eye strain, diplopia, irritation and redness of eyes, dryness, headache, neck and certain cases backache (particularly where bad posture is one of the contributing factors). Since the young adolescents are most common users of technology, it is not surprising that they are the main sufferers as well; however, the syndrome is not limited to the youth and many adults, particularly those using inadequate glasses for near and computer work, often report these symptoms after spending some time at the screen.

Many contributing factors have been proposed for the pathogenesis of this disease. Infrequent blinking is one of the major factors as computer/ mobile phone users tend to stare at the screens while following the text or the animated pictures and videos. Whereas we normally blink for about 15 times a minute, computer users may have a blinking rate of half of this. The even spreading of tears by blinking provides moist and smooth surface of the eye. Reduction in the blinking rate, on the other hand, causes a dry and rough ocular surface, giving rise to feeling of grittiness along with redness, irritation and a feeling of tiredness. Excessive glare and enhanced contrast of the computer and mobile phone screen is another factor that causes strain on the eyes. Similarly, faulty refractive status, especially among presbyopes, is yet another reason for development of CVS.

Adjustment of posture, seating and light, reduction of glare by lamp shades and curtain blinds could help in reducing symptoms of CVS. Using lubricant eye drops such as methyl cellulose or polyvinyl alcohol may improve ocular dryness. 20-20 rule may also help in reducing dryness of eyes and ocular muscle relaxation. This involves watching for some object at about 20 feet for at least 20 seconds after every 20 minutes of close work, and, can help relaxation of accommodation and alleviation of eye strain. There is no evidence that computer vision syndrome causes any damage to vision or functioning of the eye but may result in discomfort and eye strain and hence, it is necessary to take preventive steps to avoid these symptoms.

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