Computer screens could be hurting your driving ability, doctor says

Computer screens could be hurting your driving ability, doctor says

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Many of us spend hours on the computer either working or playing, and all that staring at the computer screen could have a negative impact on your driving ability.

According to the American Optometric Association, Computer Vision Syndrome (CVC) describes a group of vision-related problems that result from prolonged computer use. The constant monitor viewing causes eye discomfort, with the level of discomfort growing as the level of computer use grows.

"It's a vague discomfort that people complain about after continued usage of computers, books, or anything at close range," says Dr. Robert Peyser with Ashley Eye Clinic.

The most common symptoms associated with CVS are eye string, headaches, blurred vision, dry eyes, neck and shoulder pain, and an increase in nearsightedness which can be a major problem when driving at night. Field of vision decreases at night because of the lack of natural light.

"The pupils, the aperture that lets light into the eye, gets very large. Especially in darkened situations such as driving at night. That alone can cause some of the extra glare," Peyser says.

Today's children, our future drivers, spend hours every day watching television or playing on the computer or tablet, but luckily CVS isn't a major concern for them.

"Children's focusing ability is quite elastic and they have an inordinate amount of ability to see up close and intermediate distances that we lose as we get older," Peyser says.

Peyser says CVS can be prevented or reduced by controlling the brightness and glare on a computer screen, making sure the screen is at least 20 inches away from your eyes, and by wearing the correct prescription glasses.

You can also incorporate the 20-20-20 rule while working on a computer. The rule requires that you look away from your monitor every 20 minutes, focus on something at least 20-feet away, and stare at it for 20 seconds.

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