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CVS: Look after your eyes -- you have only one pair

Although you are not likely to suffer a life-threatening injury while sitting at a desk, staring at a computer screen for seven to eight hours a day can cause long-term vision problems. The initial discomfort of blurry, burning eyes could soon develop into computer vision syndrome.

The modern lifestyle of many admin workers in California has them staring at the computer screen all day, and when they take a break, the first thing they do is to take a smart phone or tablet to check social media. Whether you work in an office environment or from home, extended hours of digital screen use can cause eyestrain.

Common symptoms of digital eyestrain or CVS

The longer you continue to strain your eyes in this manner, the more it can damage your eyes. Keep a lookout for the following early warning symptoms:

  • Blurred vision
  • Eyestrain
  • Dry eyes
  • Headaches
  • Neck and shoulder pain

Ignoring these red flags can cause long-term vision problems.

Factors that you can mitigate

By addressing some of your office's ergonomics, you could mitigate the following typical CVS causes or combination of causes:

  • Glare on the digital screen
  • Poor seating posture
  • Poor lighting
  • Improper viewing distance
  • Uncorrected vision problems

Vision problems are preventable, or you could reduce the harm linked to computer vision syndrome by controlling the lighting and limiting the glare on the screen of the digital device. Learning proper posture and distance from the screen may also limit the damage.

Contributing factors

Along with the number of hours you spend looking at a digital screen, your visual abilities can play a significant role in the level of CVS or digital eyestrain you suffer. Existing vision problems, such as astigmatism, farsightedness, eye coordination problems, inadequate eye focusing, and presbyopia or other visual changes linked to aging, are all contributing factors to the problem.

In the American Optometric Association's effort to educate employees and employers about vision safety, it recommends what it calls the 20-20-20 rule. This rule requires you to take 20-second breaks when you view something that is 20 feet away from you every 20 minutes.

The financial consequences

Computer vision syndrome might not sound as severe as some of the injuries suffered by construction workers and others in more hazardous occupations, but the economic consequences can be the same. You might find yourself with mounting medical and optometric bills, and you might suffer wage losses if your vision problems cause temporary disability.

Fortunately, the California workers' compensation system is there provide financial assistance to injured workers. An attorney with experience in dealing with benefits claims can provide the necessary support and guidance to get you the maximum applicable compensation.

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