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Wrong font can cause computer vision syndrome

DO you know which font you need to use while working on your computer, the right font that does not tax your eyes? With majority of the people facing some kind of vision problem due to excess exposure to computer screen, it is imperative that one knows this.

According to a research funded by Microsoft, ‘Verdana’ is the ideal font type and the eyes can comfortably read text in 10 or 12 font size. However, wrong font size is not the only problem. A person’s eyes could be taxed due to uneven level of computer screen, lighting, etc, leading to Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS). 

According to Dr Jim Sheedy, head of Vision Ergonomics Research Laboratory and professor of optometry, Pacific University, close to 50 per cent of the people who use computers have some level of CVS in USA. “If the text size is three times lesser than your threshold size, you would struggle to read the font. In turn, you would lean forward to read clearly, which would then affect your body due to uncomfortable posture,” he told Deccan Herald.

Dr Sheedy, whose research has been mostly funded by Microsoft and Intel, was recently in Bangalore for inauguration of the Computer Vision Therapy clinic in Sankara Eye Hospital here.

Studies show that among the people who spend three to four hours a day in front of computers, 35-90 per cent have symptom related to eyes, he added. People with bifocal or progressive lens are also prone to CVS. To address this problem, it was felt that Vision Ergonomics was the need of the hour. It focuses on the best way to design computer visual environment so that the eyes can comfortably and efficiently comprehend the text on the screen. 

However, to implement ‘vision ergonomics’, manufacturers need to produce products that fit people, companies should bear the responsibility of buying right equipment and employees should also be educated on how to use equipment, he felt. In spite of this if people do face difficulties, computer vision clinics can help. 

The ophthalmologist at the clinic understands the symptoms and work environment and suggests the required changes. For instance, the top of the computer should be adjusted at eye level of the person or obstructing the light if it’s too bright. However, if the eye problem still remains, it is time to check the eyes. However, Dr Sheedy stated that there was no co-relation found between prolonged computer exposure and increase in focal length of your vision.

Symptoms of CVS
Tiredness, sore eyes, eyestrain, dry eyes, red eyes, fatigue, repeated headaches, burning in eyes, pain in and around the eyes, glare sensitivity, difficulties in focussing, excessive tearing, contact lens discomfort, double Vision, periodic blurring of near and distant vision or both.

(Published in Deccan Herald on 13th August, 2010)

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