Computer Vision Syndrome, or Why We Would All be Better Off With an E-ink Monitor
The article delves into computer vision syndrome, a spectrum of physical symptoms caused by sitting and staring at your computer screen for unhealthy lengths of time.
Do you know how your mother told you not to sit so close to the screen? Well, she was right:
Studies have indicated 70 percent to 90 percent of people who use computers extensively, whether for work or play, have one or more symptoms of computer vision syndrome. The effects of prolonged computer use are not just vision-related. Complaints include neurological symptoms like chronic headaches and musculoskeletal problems like neck and back pain.
The report’s authors, Tope Raymond Akinbinu of Nigeria and Y. J. Mashalla of Botswana, cited four studies demonstrating that use of a computer for even three hours a day is likely to result in eye symptoms, low back pain, tension headache and psychosocial stress.
Still, the most common computer-related complaint involves the eyes, which can develop blurred or double vision as well as burning, itching, dryness and redness, all of which can interfere with work performance.
I think that they’re overstating the seriousness of the problem. With most people, you can cure their symptoms simply by changing their work environment or or their work habits.
Adjusting the height of a monitor, repositioning a chair, or changing work routines, will help half or more of those with CVS. The fix is so simple that I almost hesitate to use the word syndrome, but then there are the people who aren’t helped by such simple measures.
Some CVS sufferers aren’t just inconvenienced when they stare at a screen too long; they’re put on the sick list. They get pounding migraines in just a few short hours, and often have to ration their computer time.
"I had to take weeks off at my job because I couldn’t stand to watch any monitors, (even TV, projectors, any that emits light)," a reader told me last year. "I’ve been having headaches for years, and just reached my limit. I got back at my job recently, but the nightmare is still going on: every day is a struggle."
For the more extreme cases of CVS, the Paperlike monitor, with its 13″ E-ink screen, is not an optional expense any more than a screen reader app is for the visually impaired.
And that’s why I was so thrilled to see the Paperlike launch on Indiegogo last week.
I’ve covered the software features of the Paperlike before, so I won’t repeat myself here.
Dasung is raising funds for its next production run by pre-selling the Paperlike monitor. They’re asking $800 for a monitor that retails for $1300 (sometimes it helps to buy from the manufacturer).
The campaign is now up to $57 thousand, far exceeding its goal of $10,000, and it’s still growing. Unfortunately it’s only sold 71 units, which means this is going to stay a niche product rather than going mainstream.