Medical Transcription and Computer Vision Syndrome

Staring at a computer monitor for hours on end while doing medical transcription can put a real strain on your eyes. Although there’s no evidence that it causes long-term damage, it can certainly create significant short-term discomfort and impede your ability to work.

Symptoms include dry eyes, blurred vision, difficulty focusing your eyes after a protracted period of looking at the monitor, light sensitivity, irritated, achy eyes, headache, and neck strain.

These symptoms are all wrapped under the diagnostic umbrella called computer vision syndrome (CVS), although similar symptoms also occur in people in non-computer professions who do a lot of close-up work.

CVS is related to the way your eyes function when reading a computer screen. The nature of how computer letters are created on the screen makes them harder to read than letters printed on paper and forces the eyes to focus and refocus constantly.

On top of that, people tend to blink a lot less often when concentrating intently on a computer screen, which leads to dry, irritated eyes.

To ward off the unpleasant symptoms of computer vision syndrome, experts suggest the following:

  • Follow the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, rest your eyes by looking away from the monitor and focusing on an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

  • Avoid sitting where air is flowing past your face from a vent or fan, potentially drying your eyes.

  • Follow ergonomic guidelines for proper lighting, because glare or overly bright lights can aggravate the problem.

  • Make a conscious effort to blink. Over-the-counter artificial tears also can help alleviate dry-eye symptoms.

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