Computer Monitors & Dizziness

By Jane Williams

With the ever increasing role computers play in everyday lives, people find themselves sitting in front of their computers for longer and longer periods of time. The extreme convenience and connectivity offered by these machines comes at a cost, as many people suffer physical effects, such as dizziness and headaches, after prolonged staring at the computer screen. These ailments typically go away after a few painkillers and some time away from the computer, but may be symptoms of a larger problem.

Cause

The main cause of dizziness while looking at computer monitors involves a condition known as computer eye strain or computer vision syndrome. Sitting in front of a computer for hours at a time means extended periods looking at a screen. This can affect your vision, and even your health as you sit - often unconsciously - in the same position for long periods of time. Intensely focusing on the computer monitor coupled with being sedentary for long periods may cause dizziness from eye strain and even a feeling of vertigo once you move.

Symptoms

In addition to dizziness, computer vision syndrome causes other symptoms, such as dry eyes and headaches. Intense focus may also cause blurry or double vision, and nausea in some cases. The act of sitting in the same position can also add to your physical ailments, as neck and shoulder aches and tension result from extended periods of bad posture, such as unconsciously hunching forward to see the computer screen clearly.

Solution

If you start to feel dizzy while working on your computer, take a break. Walk away from your desk and do some stretches. Refocus your eyes on something further away for 10-20 seconds, then focus on something close up for another 10-20 seconds. Repeat this 10 times to help exercise your eyes regularly. Blink slowly 10 times every 20 minutes to help moisten your eyes and prevent dryness.

Prevention

To prevent dizziness and the other symptoms associated with computer eye strain, adjust your workstation so that your monitor is well lit. Avoid glare on your monitor, as it can cause you to squint and make your eyes work harder than necessary. Upgrade your CRT (cathode ray tube) monitor to a flat screen LCD (liquid crystal display) monitor, which is easier on the eyes and offers a higher refresh rate to eliminate screen flicker. If the dizziness and other symptoms persist despite prevention methods, speak to your health care professional or seek an eye exam to eliminate a more serious, underlying medical cause.