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  • Meta:

    Can Comics Kill Your Eyes?

    You’ve been staring at your computer screen for hours, working on your latest masterpiece.
    Your vision is blurred, your eyes are tired and the throbbing in your head serves as a constant reminder that you’re not exactly in paradise. Is it just a bad case of writer’s block? Maybe. But there’s also a chance that you could be suffering from Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS).

    So what is CVS?
    According to the American Optometric Association, CVS is “the complex of eye and vision problems related to near work which are experienced during or related to computer use.” CVS is characterized by eye discomfort (such as dry eyes and/or red, itchy and watery eyes), fatigue and difficulty focusing the eyes. These symptoms can cause additional problems, like headaches, backaches and muscle spasms.

    Causes of CVS
    Anyone who spends two or more hours a day working on a computer is fair game for CVS. Images on a computer screen are made up of individual pixels, which are difficult to focus on. Your eyes must regularly refocus in order to keep images sharp, which could lead to eye-strain and CVS.

    What to do
    Geoffrey Weaver, O.D., Clinical Care Director for the American Optometric Association recommends getting an eye exam if you think you have CVS. Having an eye exam can determine whether your vision problems are related specifically to computer use or not. “Your vision may be 20/20, but even the slightest stigmatism could be an issue when dealing with computers,” explains Weaver.

    Depending on the results of your eye exam, your doctor may prescribe glasses for general use or strictly computer use. “There are no ‘magic’ computer glasses,” says Weaver. “But glasses designed specifically for computer use do some of the focusing for you so that your eyes can relax.”

    But corrective lenses aren’t the only answer. For those of you who are scared of glasses and the stigma attached to them (no pun intended), here’s some ways to avoid being called “four eyes” and looking like Elijah Wood in Sin City:

    GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK. Taking time off every so often will give your eyes a chance to rest. Make phone calls or look out your window. Do anything that doesn’t require your eyes to focus on something up close.

    ADJUST YOUR SCREEN. Your computer screen should be 4 to 9 inches below eye-level, and 20 to 26 inches from your eyes.

    TURN DOWN THE LIGHTS. Minimize the glare on your computer screen and invest in drapes, shades or blinds. You can also get a glare reduction filter, or—if you already wear glasses—ask your optometrist about eyeglass lens tints and coatings that can reduce glare.

    CLEAN YOUR SCREEN. Dust and fingerprints can reduce clarity and make your eyes do more work than they have to.

    —by Emily Hebert

    Posted by Tim Leong on May 9th, 2005 filed in Story Archive |

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