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How Computers Affect Vision

Many of today’s jobs require us to sit in front of a computer screen all day. While it might not seem like a harmful activity, staring at a computer can actually put a lot of strain on your eyes and eventually cause eye damage. In fact, between 50 and 90 percent of people who work on a computer experience some eye irritation or strain. Learn more about how computers can affect your vision and how to protect your eyes.

Woman wearing glasses on a computer

How Computers Affect Your Eyes

After long exposure to computer screens, you can develop eye problems like computer vision syndrome (CVS), which includes a wide range of eye pain and strain. CVS is like other repetitive motion injuries. As your eyes follow the same path over and over, they become strained. Focusing on different parts of the screen paired with looking down at your notes and back up to type require a lot of work from your eye muscles. And with contrast, glare, and occasional flickering, computer screens constantly change what your eyes are processing.

Additionally, looking at a computer screen reduces the number of times you blink per minute, causing your eyes to dry out more quickly. Sitting too close to your monitor can cause your eyes to work harder as they try and focus on small fonts.

Adults often develop this syndrome, especially as they age, since it gets harder and harder for your eyes to adjust and the lenses in your eyes get less flexible. This syndrome not only affects adults but also kids who stare at computers or tablets during school or at home.


While there isn’t proof that your eyes are damaged long-term by computers, using them regularly can cause eye discomfort and strain.

Here are some symptoms that you may be developing CVS:

  • Blurry vision
  • Dry or red eyes
  • Eye irritation
  • Double vision
  • Headaches

In addition to these symptoms, eye strain caused by computers can negatively impact your work performance. These symptoms can make it harder to focus and be productive at work.


You can make several changes to prevent damage and strain to your eyes. Try implementing some of the steps below when you are working on a computer for an extended period of time.

Eliminate Glare

Glare can put a lot of strain on your eyes. Try eliminating it by repositioning your computer or changing the light around you. If there is a window next to your desk, close the blinds. If the overhead lights cause a glare, ask for a dimmer switch. You can even try buying a desk lamp to shine light evenly across your desk. There are also anti-glare treatments available as an added feature to your lenses at the time of ordering your prescription to help reduce this glare.

Take a Break

If your eyes are feeling strained, take a break! Even if they aren’t, you should abide by the 20-20-20 rule: take a break and look away from your screen every 20 minutes to look at something else for at least 20 seconds. Taking a break and blinking will help your eyes rest.

Adjust Brightness

Adjusting the brightness and settings on your computer screen can also help reduce eye strain. Turn the brightness down, apply a glare filter to your computer screen, or increase the contrast. Play around with the settings until you find something that works for you.

Wear Computer Glasses

There are computer glasses that can help reduce eye strain. These glasses aren’t like ordinary glasses; they don’t necessarily improve your vision, but instead, are made to reduce eye strain associated with working on a computer. The lenses in these glasses are coated with an anti-reflective coating that reduces glare. You may have noticed that some computer glasses have a tint. Glass color tinting helps increase your computer screen’s contrast without overworking your eyes.

To learn more about how computer screens can affect your vision, contact Dr. Blair M Ball, OD.