It is a known fact that computers are the number one cause of eyestrain. But why only eyestrain, computers have been guilty of various other health issues. Over a period of time, excessive computer use can have cumulative negative effects on the user including the worsening of eyesight, astigmatism, eye-focusing disorders and poor eye coordination. In addition, constant working from a set position can cause neck and shoulder stiffness, as well as stress headaches, which can then cause pain in the jaw.

Some studies estimate that 90 per cent of all individuals using computers for more than 3 hours per day experience Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) in some form.

But it is also a fact that these hi-tech processing machines have become indispensable. So, given that we cannot escape computers, we must learn to live with them. And helping residents of Thane city in this learning process is the Ghantali Mitra Mandal (GMM), a city-based group that organises workshops and seminars for the benefit of the residents. GMM also runs a yoga institute. Under the guidance of Yogacharya ShriKrishna Vyavahare, the GMM Yoga Institute recently conducted a two-week long workshop on CVS.
Sujata Bhide, one of the guides in the programme says, "In just two weeks, the participants showed such a marked improvement in their quality of vision. Blurriness and strain had reduced – so had headaches and backaches." The measure of success was based on the assessment by two city-based ophthalmologists, Dr. Vavikar and Dr. Gadgil, who examined the participants both before and after the workshop.

The response was so good that it prompted GMM to organise another episode of the workshop which began on July 14, earlier this week. At the workshop, five guides Dr. Ulka Natu, Sujata Bhide, Vidya Kunte, Sunanda Joshi and Arvind Bhave coach the participants in the yoga methods including meditation techniques that directly address the specific problems associated with computer fatigue.

"Computing is not about computers any more. It is about living," claims Nicholas Negroponte, Professor of Media Technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in USA. The professor should know – after all, he lives with these machines.

Fact File
Here are a few tips from experts that may help you reduce computer-related fatigue:

  • Set up your computer correctly. The proper viewing distance is 20-24 inches. The correct viewing angle is 10 to 20 degrees from the mid-screen to the top of the screen.
  • Use a good monitor – usually the higher the resolution, the better.
  • Do eye exercises every 30 minutes.
  • Use proper posture – a straight upper back with feet flat on the ground.
  • Ensure appropriate illumination. The room should not be more than three times brighter than the screen.
  • Adjust screen brightness and contrast properly.
  • Keep your wrists relatively straight while typing. Wrist support pads can be very helpful. Support your elbows too, to prevent shoulder tension.
  • And finally, take frequent five-minute breaks to stretch your back, neck, hands and legs.

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