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“What seems to be clear is that
c hildren brought up in less developed rura l
environments with plenty of outdoor activity
and lower reading demands seem to have less
myopia,” he said.
“ Working at a computer requires the
e ye s to continua lly focus and refocus, for
instanc e when you’ve looked a way from
the screen to view paperwork on the desk
a nd then back at the screen. The repetitive
nature of this process requires quite a lot
of effort from the eye muscles and they are
likely to fatigue over an e xtended period,
leading to CVS.
“R eading from a screen is more
challenging to the eyes than reading from
a document or a book, be caus e when
viewing a screen, the eyes need to adjust
to contrast, flicker and glare. But we all do
it. Staring at a computer s cre en, hour upon
hour, ha s be come part of the modern work
day,” he continued.
The A merican Optometric A ssociation
(AOA) reports that a survey of optometrists
found that approximately 10 million eye
examinations are performed annually in the
United States due to vision problems related
to computer use.
“CVS is similar to Carpal Tunnel
Syndrome or any of the repetitive stress
injuries that occ ur when c arrying out the
same motion over and over again,” continued
“Anyone spending more than two
continuous hours working on a computer e very
day is at greater risk for developing CVS.”
A solution seems to b e on the way in
the form of ‘flicker-free’ c omputer monitors
that reduc e the screen strobe, which, while
undetectable to the huma n eye, is l argely
respon sible for eye fatigue. Or else , simply
spend less time glued to the screen on your
desk or in your hand.
Our digita l age is revolutionising
our lives in so ma ny ways,
mostly positive but a lso with
some health risk s that a re
beginning to emerge. Ju st a s we reported
in July that Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is on
the increa se with keyboard work one factor,
s yndrome.html, now it seems there’s a n
emerging health condition c alled Computer
Vision Syndrome or CVS. While it’s
suggested it is affecting countless Australians
of all ages and having a significant impact on
productivity and general wellbeing, the most
significant concern is an increase in short
sightedness or myopia . A study conducted
by the National Eye Institute in the US
reported the prevalenc e of near (short)
sightedness increa sing by around 66% over
the past 30 years in America.
“ Whether for work or pleasure ma ny
of us subject our eyes to a digital screen
for a large portion of our day,” sa id Sydney
optometrist Dr Jim Kokkina kis.
dramatic rise in ownership of smart phone s
a nd tablets, which coupled with modern
day work practices involving extended use
of PCs in the office environment, is causing
our eye muscles to work harder and for
Symptoms of CVS include eyestrain,
blurred vision and dry, itchy or burning
eyes, which will often culminate in a
heada che or migraine.
“Many paediatric optometrist s now
believe that heav y computer use puts children
at risk for early myopia, which later in life
ca n be associated with the de velopment of
glaucoma and retinal detachment. If this
trend continues the incidence of potentially
blinding eye diseases may also incre ase,”
said Dr Kokkinakis.
© NOVA SEPTEMBER 2013 19
ocal community groups and
individuals are being asked to
get involved and unite to stop
stroke this Nationa l Stroke Week,
September 9 to 15.
Already more than 4000 Unite to Stop
Stroke a ctivities are e xpected to be held
a cross the country, ranging from morning
teas, to fun runs, health checks, workplace
displays and community information
Dr Erin Lalor of the National Stroke
Foundation sa id there wa s need for great
c ommunity awarene ss of stroke at home and
in the workplace a nd how people can reduce
“ Stroke touches all of our lives in some
way, whether it is personally, through a
fa mily member, a friend or c olleag ue. Yet,
only a round half of Austra lians know the
signs of stroke and one in 10 couldn’t spot a
s troke if it happened right in front of them.
“One in six Austra lians will suffer a
s troke in their lifetime. Stroke is Australia’s
s econd biggest killer and of those who
survive stroke, 65% a re left with a disability
that impedes their ability to carry out daily
“Unite with us this Nationa l Stroke
Week and help stop stroke, save lives a nd
end suffering for good.”
To get involved with Nation al Stroke
Week, host a ‘Unite to Stop Stroke’ event
in your community or work place visit
w w w.strokefoundation.com.au or phone :
1300 194 196. Free activity packs and
information will be provided to a ssist with
your event; including posters f undraising
ideas and information about stroke
w w w.strokefoundation.com.au
Use “FAST” to remember
and recognise the signs
Face – Ha s the person’s mouth
Arms – Can they lift both arms?
Speech – Is their speech slurred?
Do they understand you ?
Time – Time is critical.
If you see any of these signs, call
triple zero (000) immediately.
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