Video Vision Prolonged Exposure to Computer Screens Can Cause Eye Problems, Unless Adjustments Are Made

By Jane E. Brody c. 1996, New York Times News Service | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), August 26, 1996 | Go to article overview

Video Vision Prolonged Exposure to Computer Screens Can Cause Eye Problems, Unless Adjustments Are Made


Jane E. Brody c. 1996, New York Times News Service, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


IN DAYS gone by, children were often warned that reading in poor light or in awkward positions would "ruin" their eyes. Fortunately, problems rarely ensued. Not so among today's computer users; many experience preventable eye or vision problems.

With images on a computer screen fast supplanting the printed word, complaints about vision-related problems like eyestrain, blurry vision, headaches and neck aches are multiplying rapidly. Millions of people, from preschool ages on, who work or play the day away on video display terminals are suffering needlessly, experts say.

Although vision and eye problems have been overshadowed by carpal tunnel syndrome as a debilitating hazard of prolonged computer use, they are actually more common and should not be ignored. Virtually all can be corrected - and avoided - with proper adjustments in the work environment and the user's position in relation to the screen.

Although there is no evidence of permanent visual damage from the prolonged use of VDTs, even temporary impairments can be troublesome. The problems can occasionally be dangerous; for example, if computer use at work impairs distance vision, driving home could be hazardous.

First, the good news. Repeated tests have shown that video display terminals do not emit hazardous radiation - neither ultraviolet nor ionizing radiation - so even daily use for decades should not cause cataracts or retinal damage. Nor is there evidence that computer use causes permanent myopia, or nearsightedness, or speeds development of myopia any more than reading books might.

However, several surveys of people who work at video display terminals indicate that up to 75 percent experience one or more reversible vision or eye problems. The American Optometric Association has coined a name for the complaints: computer vision syndrome. Symptoms may include any or all of the following:

Temporary myopia, the inability to focus clearly on distant objects for a few minutes to a few hours after using the computer.

Eyestrain or eye fatigue, a tired, aching heaviness of the eyelids or forehead.

Blurred vision for near or far objects, and sometimes double vision or afterimages.

Dry, irritated or watery eyes.

Increased sensitivity to light.

Headaches, neck aches, backaches and muscle spasms from holding the body in awkward positions to maintain a desirable angle between eyes and screen.

Why should computer use cause such problems when reading a book or papers for hours on end rarely does? The American Academy of Ophthalmology and optometrists who study computer-related problems say several factors apply especially to computer use:

Poor position in relation to the computer.

Lighting that produces glare or reflections, fuzzy images or images that are too dim or even too bright.

Failure to blink often enough to moisten the surface of the eyes.

Use of corrective lenses that are inappropriate for the user's position and distance from the screen.

Minor visual defects that might go unnoticed if not exaggerated by i ntense computer use.

For example, Dr. Kent M. Daum, an optometrist at the University of Alabama School of Optometry in Birmingham, showed that minor and otherwise unnoticed refractive errors, astigmatisms or imbalances between the eyes can cause pronounced discomfort after as little as half an hour at the computer. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Video Vision Prolonged Exposure to Computer Screens Can Cause Eye Problems, Unless Adjustments Are Made
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.