Computers & Your Eyes

The Increase of Video Display Terminals

Millions of Americans are spending more and more time in front of a computer screen. Too much time in front of the monitor can cause headaches, muddled or double vision, and pain in the eyes. In addition, VDT can result in ocular fatigue, excessive irritation, dry or itchy eyes, and an unusual amount of blinking or squinting. This does not mean you should stop using a computer and monitor. You should, however, take appropriate steps to address this problem.

A VDT Exam

If you are experiencing any of these problems, Please call us to schedule an eye examination with your eye care provider. The exam includes a thorough history of both your eyes, your general health, and your history of exposure to VDT's. You should be able to expound on the type of monitor you use, the size of the screen, whether it is color or black-and-white, the time spent in front of it, the type of work you do, and the problems experienced.

The exam will judge:

  • Your visual proficiency at your specific work distances
  • A thorough examination of the health of your eyes. Your eye's refraction at different distances. The ability of your eyes to focus on objects at different distances.
  • The eye's coordination and the range of eye movement.
  • Depending on the results, the optometrist may have to run additional tests in order to properly assess the health and needs of your eyes.

Possible Causes of Visual Problems

If your eyeglasses or contact lens prescription is even slightly outdated, it will cause some level of blurred vision. This may cause harmful effects when using your VDT.

It is also possible that you have an additional vision deficiency, such as presbyopia, eye coordination difficulties, astigmatism, or farsightedness. Extensive use with a VDT may exacerbate these conditions. In the case or presbyopia (the natural process of losing the ability to clearly focus on objects that are close), your eye care provider may suggest single vision lenses while you use your VDT. Another suggestion may be bifocals or trifocals to better focus on different distances.

In the case of farsightedness, excessive time in front of a VDT places undue stress on your eyes. This can detract from the eye's ability to focus and lead to fatigue. If your eye-sight is blurry at multiple distances, you may have astigmatism. Properly prescribed vision wear can correct for each of these frustrating conditions and improve the efficiency of your VDT tasks.

In the case of poor eye coordination, you may experience fatigue, headaches, pain in the eyes, and undue stress on your eyes. These problems can reduce your effectiveness at your VDT tasks.
Depending on the specifics of your problem, vision therapy or vision prescriptions can improve your ability to perform VDT tasks.

Everyday Steps to Improving Your VDT Efficiency

  • Be sure to take periodic breaks from VDT tasks.
  • Make sure that your surroundings and your VDT have similar brightness.
  • If your VDT contains dark backgrounds, try and reduce the surrounding light.
  • Allow for sufficient contrast between the color of screen backgrounds and the characters being written.
  • Use a glare reduction filter to cut down on VDT glare. Darker windows or coverings for windows can cut the glare from outside light. A mirror positioned in front of your screen will indicate where the glare is coming from. Periodically wipe your screen with a soft cloth to keep the surface clean.
  • Make sure you have a proper chair that can be adjusted for height and distance to the screen.
  • Make sure your keyboard and VDT is adjustable and can be properly positioned to safeguard your eyes from potential problems.
  • Reference material that is being inputted into the computer should be located at a comfortable and easily accessible position.

Protect your children from the potential problems associated with VDT by establishing a well-lit and well-positioned computer station according to the guidelines set forth above. By following these guidelines, you can best safeguard your eyes and better enjoy your Video Display Terminal.

Please email us at for more information.


Andersen Eye Associates proudly serves the Greater Saginaw region including Flint, Frankenmuth, Bay City, Midland, Bridgeport, Bad Axe, Mount Pleasant, and surrounding areas.

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