Computers have become an
integral part of everyone's life. They have made
things so much fast and simple but have brought with
them new problems related to the eyes. These
problems affect all those who spend a significant
time working on the computers everyday. However,
these computer related eye problems are mostly due
to our own wrong habits. I call this cluster of
problems e-Pain (which may mean electronic / eye
pain) which is also called Computer Vision Syndrome.
What are the problems?
Pain and eye strain being so
common among the computer users that it would be
appropriate to call this cluster of computer related
eye problems: e-Pain.
What causes these problems?
An understanding of what
causes these symptoms can help us take appropriate
It is important to know that computer monitors do
not emit any harmful rays or radiations (monochrome
or color). The causes of the trouble are:
When we look at a near
object both our eyes move towards each other
(converge) to fixate at the target. Prolonged
viewing of the monitor at close distance leads to
fatigue of convergence and its weakness /
insufficiency. This consequently leads to eye
strain, pain and headache.
Decreased rate of blinking
while working on computers leads to instability of
the tear film of the eyes. This leads to feeling of
dryness, irritation, redness and a reflex watering
from the eyes.
What is the solution?
There is no single magic
remedy for this problem. Following set of measures
can be undertaken together to get relief:
Proper Visual Hygiene
Monitor should be placed
about 2-3 feet from the eyes (or at the farthest
Do not gaze constantly
at the monitor for long duration. Take your eyes
off the screen every 5-10 minutes.
Every half an hour or so
close your eyes for 1-2 minutes to give them
Every hour or so take a
5 minutes break (go for a stroll or run some
Make a conscious effort
to blink more frequently. Avoid sitting in front
of an air conditioner facing its air draft while
working on computer.
Regular eye exercise can
help prevent the problems caused by working on
computers or even heavy reading or writing work.
These exercises are advised for all computer
professionals, students, office workers, etc.
Sit on a chair upright
and look at a far off samll object.
Then hold out a pen at
level with your eyes at an arm's length and look
at its tip.
Gradually bring the pen
close to your eyes to a point where you feel a
mild strain on your eyes. The tip of the pen
should remain clear and single in appearance.
Hold the pen in this position for about half a
minute and then again gradually take it back to
an arms length. Hold it here again for about
half a minute, and then again bring the pen
close to your eyes.
Repeat above step 10
times and then again look the far off small
object. Again repeat the whole sequence.
In the beginning this
exercise should be done for 5-10 minutes just
once a day in the morning at a time when you are
fresh and rested. After one week it should be
increased to twice daily and after two weeks
thrice a day. Avoid doing the exercise when you
are tired or are having pain in eyes or
headache. In the initial period when you begin
exercising the pain in the eyes and headache may
increase, but this should not discourage you. As
you continue the exercise you will gradually
feel relief from the symptoms over 2-3 weeks.
Continue the exercise for 2
months to build good eye muscle strength and
Lubricant Eye Drops
Lubricant eye drops
instilled 3-4 times a day help in soothing the eyes
and relieving irritation and redness. Many
preparations are available in the market e.g. Tears
Plus, Hypotears Plus, Moss, Moisol, etc. Although
allergy or reactions to these eye drops are uncommon
yet one should be careful in using them, and if they
cause any irritation, redness or swelling of the
eyes they should be immediately discontinued. It is
advisable to consult an ophthalmologist before using
any eye medicines.
Anti-glare glasses do not provide any relief.
Author: Sanjay Dhawan, New Delhi, India
Last updated on 31 May 2011