CVS & LCD SCREENS
The year 2000 ushered in both a new century and a whole new set of challenges for our eyes. Y2K saw the advancement of the computer banking industry and the ATM machines were all operated by an interactive LCD screen. As well, virtually everyone had a personal computer at home, and many people also carried both a portable phone (cell), a lap top computer and a PDA (personal desktop Assistant – which had an LCD screen). And the Internet was in full swing – meaning everyone was using it – some a little and some a lot. Also during this time, a new industry was born called, “gaming.”*
By the year 2010, nearly every media we viewed including books were on an LCD screen – even the newspaper. Our telephones, tablets, laptops, personal computers at work, the Mac Book Pro at home, electronic billboards, everything in Las Vegas, and flat-screen TVs.
A new syndrome is born. It’s called CVS – Computer Vision Syndrome
Research shows that somewhere between 50% – 90% of all people who work in front of a computer screen have at least one symptom of CVS. – WebMD
The first cigarettes were available in America the first day we called it, “America.”* It took over 250 years for doctors to agree that cigarette smoking causes predictable health problems – like cancer. So they put an obtrusive warning label on the packs of cigarettes to alert the public of the dangers of smoking. 250 years is one hell of a learning curve.
Well, it has been just over forty years since the prevalent use of LCD screens, and the average usage of them has skyrocketed. Today, there is a new acronym that categorizes a multitude of eye disorders all having a variety of related symptoms, and all directly related to the prolonged viewing of LCD screens. CVS stands for “computer vision syndrome.” is the new medical term for eye problems caused by computers.
It is not likely that computer screens will be banned from the work place anytime soon. Instead, the onus of protecting workers from them has shifted to the employer who requires their employees to use that tool all day at work.
So, for those business owners who care about their employees, and who care about their “bottom line,” ergonomics should be a foremost operations concern right along with OSHA compliance and sexual harassment. Failure to take these issues seriously can cost your company dearly, in actual dollars, in the form of lost productivity, in employee morale or even worse, in losing your best employee.
Here are a few action steps to help prevent CVS in the work place:
- Focus on something in the distance from time to time during the day
- Read a book or any print media on paper
- Close your eyes for a few minutes at a time during the day – give your eyes a rest
- Get away from your work station and go outside where your eyes can have a natural experience with the world
- Use voice-to-text so you don’t need to stare at your smart phone while texting
- Make sure that your computer screen is set to the height of your eyes – so you are not looking up or down at your monitor
- Stop watching movies on your laptop computer and smart phones
- Wear corrective lenses if focusing on your screen is at all challenging
- Change the screen resolution from time to time
- Limit the total amount of time that you spend in front of any and all of the LCD screens in your world
The visions, postures, shapes, sizes, dexterity, physical skills and comfort zones of people are as unique as their finger-prints. This is why companies hire an ergonomic consultant.
A certified ergonomics consultant has become the savior for many businesses large and small. Karen Loesing, CEAS is an Agoura Hills based Ergonomic Expert. The focus of her work is simple – managing the risk of your human resources. She
will survey employee’s/your working environment at the desk level and make recommendations for setting up a biomechanically correct workstation, and teach them/you how to make the most efficient use of it. As a result, employee energy and productivity rise, employee apathy, absenteeism and turnover drops off sharply, and LCD related worker’s comp claims become a thing of the past.
So, as you can see, so can we.