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Tips to reduce the risk of Computer Vision Syndrome in children and adults | Health


In a technologically driven society, where screens dominate our daily lives, the consequences of excessive digital exposure is becoming increasingly evident hence, Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) is emerging as a critical public health concern, affecting millions worldwide and impairing both productivity and quality of life. A recent study shed light on the prevalence of CVS, revealing that a significant portion of the population experiences musculoskeletal and ocular discomfort due to prolonged screen use where incidence rates range from 30% to 90%, with computer workers being particularly susceptible, as indicated by a Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic research publication.

Digital strain: Preventive measures to reduce the risk of Computer Vision Syndrome in children and adults (Photo by Ludovic Toinel on Unsplash)
Digital strain: Preventive measures to reduce the risk of Computer Vision Syndrome in children and adults (Photo by Ludovic Toinel on Unsplash)

The surge in online schooling during Covid-19 pandemic has further intensified the urgency to address CVS as a pressing public health issue.

Prevalence of Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) in Today’s Society

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Shiva Kumar R, Senior Consultant – Neurology and Epileptology at Sakra World Hospital in Bengaluru, shared, “Following extended VDT (Visual Display Terminal) use, CVS has witnessed eye issues. Incidence rates for CVS range from 30% to 90%. Research suggests that a sizeable section of the population is impacted by CVS, notwithstanding the difficulty in pinpointing a precise incidence proportion. The prevalence of CVS among computer workers is as high as 53.9%, according to a study that was published in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research. In addition, they added, “Since the Covid-19 outbreak, online schooling has grown significantly, making CVS a serious public health concern.”

Effects of CVS on a person’s productivity and general quality of life

Dr Shiva Kumar R revealed, “CVS is caused by a number of reasons. The primary cause is prolonged and uninterrupted use of digital devices, which can cause a variety of symptoms such as itching, blurred or double vision, eye pain, headache, backache, neck and shoulder pain and numbness of the hands or fingers. Excessive computer use can also lead to sleep disorders. Visual discomfort and exhaustion can impair concentration, making it difficult to stay focused on tasks and resulting in lower efficiency. CVS symptoms can have an effect on an individual’s mood, resulting in diminished motivation, job satisfaction, and overall psychological well-being. Stress is another trigger for migraine attacks and a risk factor for the development of chronic migraine from episodic migraine. In addition, stressful life events might cause sleeplessness. It is only natural that increased stress would reinforce the relationship between CVS and migraine. The likelihood that CVS will cause a migraine increases with stress levels.”

He added, “Excessive screen use, especially close to bedtime, can disturb sleep patterns and quality. According to experts, the blue light emitted by screens can block the synthesis of melatonin, a hormone that controls sleep, interfering with the circadian cycle and leading to digital eyestrain and sleeplessness. Poor lighting, an incorrect viewing distance and angle, screen glare, uncorrected vision impairments, and insufficient blinking are some of the contributing concerns.”

Preventive Measures to Reduce the Risk of Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS)

Dr Shiva Kumar R suggested –

  • Limit Screen Time: Restrict screen time for young children to one or two hours per day.
  • Ensure Proper Seating and Lighting: Make sure children are seated correctly and the lighting is suitable. They should not have to squint or strain to see the screen. Maintain a distance of 18 to 28 inches between the monitor and the child’s eye level. Adjust the chair so their feet are on the ground and their arms are comfortably positioned on the desk.
  • Regular Vision Checks: Track a child’s vision and conduct visual tests to identify any potential impairments. Computer glasses can help improve focus on the screen, reducing eye strain. Anti-glare displays or coatings on eyewear can also help decrease eye strain.
  • Follow the 20-20-20 Rule: Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break to look at something at least 20 feet away. Additionally, perform daily stretching exercises for the neck, arms, shoulders, and back to release tension and alleviate strain or pain.
  • Guidelines for Adults: Adults should also adhere to these preventive measures. Artificial tears or lubricating eye drops can be used to moisturise and soothe dry eyes. Avoid rubbing the eyes as it can worsen eye strain.
  • Promote Awareness and Education: Public health initiatives, education, and awareness campaigns are crucial to ensure people are well-informed about the potential risks of CVS and the choices available to prevent and manage it. Understanding the connection between screen time and migraines is essential, as CVS is a modifiable condition.

By following these simple preventive measures, we can significantly reduce the risk of developing CVS in children and promote healthier digital habits for all ages.

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