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Treating Computer Vision Syndrome to Increase Worker Productivity and Save Money

Computer Eye Strain

If you spend your working life concentrating on a computer screen, you may already have heard of Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS). This is the term given to computer-related eyestrain, tired eyes, headaches and muscle aches which are all caused by sitting in front of a computer all day. However CVS is more than minor discomforts; it is proven to lead to mistakes and lower productivity.

Studies show that company profits can be tangibly improved if the problems of CVS are addressed and solved. Using specially prescribed computer glasses for perfect vision can boost worker productivity, decrease the possibility of careless errors and reduce workers’ disability claims.

Is CVS a genuine problem?
Surveys conducted by the American Optometric Association show that the most frequent health complaints among workers are related to vision. Studies have shown that 50-90% of computer users suffer from eyestrain, dry eyes, eye irritation, blurred vision and double vision after working on a computer. These symptoms of computer vision syndrome are becoming a major issue. Optometrists are reporting that 10 million eye exams each year are specifically undertaken to address vision problems related to computer use.

A study was done by the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry (UAB) on the relationship between the vision of computer workers and their productivity and showed that:

  • There was reduced productivity among computer users who were unaware that they had vision problems. Computer workers who had small refractive errors may not notice any discomfort, but their performance may suffer by up to 20%.

  • There was a direct correlation between correct vision correction and increased productivity. This was particularly evident with complex or repetitive tasks such as data input.

  • There was a direct correlation between proper vision correction and the time taken to complete a task. If workers wore glasses with less than the optimum correction, computer-related tasks took much longer to complete.

This strongly suggests that improving the visual status of computer workers leads to greater productivity in the workplace as well as improved visual comfort.

Economic Benefits for Employers
The economic benefit to employers of providing eyewear can be measured over a period of time. The costs associated with the costs of the eyewear should be subtracted from the value of the increased productivity to obtain a net cost benefit.

For example, let's say a worker's efficiency is decreased by 10% because of vision problems. If his annual salary is $25,000, that's a loss of $2,500 worth of productivity per year. Now compare that to the $300 it would have cost to get that worker an eye exam and a pair of glasses. Such a small investment would end up saving the company $2,200 per year!
(Note: all numbers in the above example were hypothetical.)

The same UAB study also suggested that computer vision benefit programs can add significant economic benefits to companies who have large numbers of computer-using employees. The study showed that:

  • A computer vision benefits program can lower the incidence of compensation claims from workers.

  • Providing computer vision care to all employees, even those not experiencing CVS symptoms, resulted in significant productivity gains and cost savings for employers.

  • Those employees performing particularly demanding computer tasks such as accounting, document editing, computer-assisted design work, electronic design and engineering could benefit even more from computer eyewear than the average computer worker.

  • Musculoskeletal problems which may be caused or aggravated by computer-related vision problems can be eliminated by a computer vision care program and a comprehensive ergonomic program.

In conclusion, surveys showed that investing in optimal eyewear for employees produced a significant cost-benefit savings.

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