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How To Relieve Computer Vision Syndrome And Keep Eyes Healthy

How To Relieve Computer Vision Syndrome And Keep Eyes Healthy

If you’re like many people, a lot of the job that you do during the week is computer-based. As a matter of fact, the American Optometric Association (AOA) estimated that the average American spends 7 hours a day on the computer (or tablet, e-reader or similar electronic device). While for many workers, this is an unavoidable part of the job, it can still lead to a problem called Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS), also known as Digital Eye Syndrome. This condition of eye irritation appears to get worse with increased computer use – but is reversible. Read on to find out more about how to recognize and treat it.

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    How CVS is Diagnosed and Recognized

    The first step to understanding CVS is knowing how to recognize the signs and symptoms of this condition. The AOA’s article on the topic goes on to outline the most frequent things to look for, including eyes that are dry or uncomfortable (in absence of problems like allergies) or feel strained as well as headache, blurred vision and pain or discomfort in the neck or shoulders. Also be aware that this can make other vision problems, such as astigmatism or far-sightedness worse.

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    If you believe you might be suffering from CVS, make an appointment with your eye doctor. They can give you a diagnosis based on your personal and medical history (including the kind of work you do and how long, on average, you spend on a computer or device on a daily basis), signs and symptoms you are experiencing, and tests to measure visual acuity and other visual skills.

    In the meantime, if you suspect that CVS might be a problem, the AOA recommends that you follow the “20-20-20” rule. This means that, if you are spending all day on the computer, then every 20 minutes or so, take 20 seconds out to gaze at something that is 20 feet away in order to give your eyes a rest.

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      Rules to Follow for Fixing CVS

      Apart from the “20-20-20” rule, there are other guidelines to follow that can help you protect your eyes from CVS:

      Rule #1. Avoid glare on your computer screen and experiment with lighting to make sure that you are not getting excessive light in the room, especially not from overhead fluorescent light which is particularly hard on the eyes. Experiment with curtains and shades to keep out excessive natural light as well.

      Rule #2. Be sure that your posture while working on the computer is supported by a good-quality chair and make sure that your computer is around 15-20 degrees below eye level and that your computer screen is around 20-28 inches away from your face. Positioning is everything!

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      Rule #3. If it is within your power, choose your computer wisely. The newer liquid crystal screens are supposed to be kinder to the eyes than their old counterparts and a dot pitch of .28mm and a screen size of at least 19 inches are considered ideal.

      Rule #4. Keep in mind that people who wear contacts or glasses are more prone to this eye strain. If you are a wearer, be even more aware of signs and symptoms to watch for.

      Rule #5. Blink often. Although you blink many times a minute just reflexively (without thinking about it), there are plenty of reasons why you should try to blink more often than this, the main one being keeping the eyes cleansed of particles and other being to keep the eyes moist.

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      Rule #6. Adjust computer settings so that the size and color of the background and font are as conducive as possible to give your eyes as much of a break as possible.

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        What to Do for General Eye Health

        If you do work in an office and are on the computer, there are a few things you can do that will help promote the general health of your eyes. One of the most important things is to protect your eyes from damaging UV rays of the sun with sunglasses and/or a hat with a brim when you are going outside, especially in the middle of the day when the UV rays are strongest. Make sure you go to an optometrist once a year for a routine eye exam and report any changes you have noticed: this can help your eye doctor catch and diagnose a problem early.

        Diet is also important to eye health: include things like carrots and sweet potatoes in your meals that are rich in beta-carotene, an antioxidant which supports visual healthy. Lutein is another antioxidant that is vital for this.

        In short, if you are like many office workers and spend long hours on the computer, you should definitely be aware of the issue of CVS – not only recognizing its signs and symptoms, but knowing what to do to treat or even prevent it.

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        Brian Wu

        Health Writer, Author

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        Last Updated on March 13, 2019

        How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

        How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

        Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

        You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

        Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

        1. Work on the small tasks.

        When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

        Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

        2. Take a break from your work desk.

        Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

        Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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        3. Upgrade yourself

        Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

        The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

        4. Talk to a friend.

        Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

        Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

        5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

        If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

        Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

        Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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        6. Paint a vision to work towards.

        If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

        Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

        Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

        7. Read a book (or blog).

        The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

        Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

        Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

        8. Have a quick nap.

        If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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        9. Remember why you are doing this.

        Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

        What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

        10. Find some competition.

        Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

        Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

        11. Go exercise.

        Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

        Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

        As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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        Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

        12. Take a good break.

        Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

        Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

        Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

        Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

        More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

        Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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