As computer monitors have changed over the years, the rate of computer eye strain has decreased. But with the amount of computer and device use these days, there are as many eye strain sufferers as ever. In the 1980s and 1990s, with older CRT monitors there was a near epidemic amount of strain to the point where it acquired a name – computer vision syndrome.

Many of the basic factors that lead to strain can be modified by adjusting your working environment. Sunlight coming in from outside windows should be minimized to reduce glare. Overhead fluorescent lights can also cause problems. The proper angle to view a monitor is 15 degrees down. The screen should be about 20 to 28 inches from your eyes and the screen should be tilted upward from vertical 15 to 20 degrees (to offset the downward placement of the monitor).

These environmental and ergonomic adjustments should help to alleviate head and neck problems that can promote general strain and fatigue.

There can be some vision-specific issues as well. An eye examination can search for small imperfections in the focus your eyes may be experiencing like astigmatism, farsightedness, and presbyopia – the loss of reading vision as we age. There can also be binocular vision concerns which are eye aiming deficiencies, common to the visual system for people of all ages.

Lastly, a computer lens with a special blue light-blocking anti-reflective coating can help to alleviate computer eye strain.

Dr. Jace Picken is an optometrist at Prairie Vision Center in Wahpeton

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