CVS Productivity: How The Work Environment is Affected

One major effect of CVS on the work environment is a significant loss of CVS productivity.

Huge business losses arise from disability claims due to CVS. Not only does this increase computer vision syndrome liability claims against employers but workers are suffering actual injuries to their eyes.

CVS Productivity

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CVS factors that affect the work environment and productivity include:

  • Visual clarity: Whether workers need prescription lenses or not, being able to see the computer screen as clearly as possible improves productivity.

    Even as small an error as 0.5 diopter, whether in corrective lenses or for workers who don’t wear glasses, this reduces productivity.

  • Type of computer work: Data entry and repetitive work productivity decreases as visual clarity decreases. Detail work required by software such as spreadsheets, database management, CAD or graphics, and work that requires a high degree of precision requires clear visual focus. Even with the clearest vision, it can cause eyestrain.
  • Computer workstation ergonomics: Proper lighting, screen position, screen brightness and contrast, image clarity, distance, angle, height, keyboard and chair positions are all factors that can cause CVS.
  • Research statistics vary showing CVS-related complaints from as many as 50% to 90% of computer users. Another study states that 70% of all Americans complain of the symptoms of CVS. CVS symptoms range from visual problems (eye strain, irritation, itching, blurry vision, double vision) to physical pains (neck, shoulder, back, headaches).

    CVS productivity can drop as much as 20%, but even a 5% decrease can cost employers a significant amount of money each year.


    Disability and worker’s compensation claims only add to the costs. Claims include care for back, neck and shoulder pain as well as for headaches. These can be even more costly if they are not correctly diagnosed as part of CVS.

    If treated as if from another cause, both diagnostic and treatment costs can be very high. If misdiagnosed, the treatments or diagnostics can go on indefinitely.

    Whether paid as a worker’s compensation or health insurance benefits, the employer’s costs for one of these is bound to increase.

    Solutions to CVS Productivity

    Ergonomics: Modifying just a few elements of workstation and computer ergonomics can enhance visual performance. Good ergonomics reduce detrimental physical and visual symptoms.

    Proper chair height allows the worker to sit in a position that is most comfortable, reducing pain and straining to see. Proper screen position, clarity and illumination reduce strain from focusing and glare. Proper lighting also reduces eyestrain.

    Computer eye wear: Employers can improve productivity and recoup lost revenues, lost time, eliminate unnecessary expenses and lower claims by providing computer eye wear for their employees.

    Spending a few hundred dollars per employee for exams and lenses has proven to offer an excellent cost-to-benefit ratio.

    Fewer claims against health insurance and worker’s compensation mean reduced costs for this coverage, too.

    When vision isn’t clear through any portion of a single or multifocal lens, the worker will reposition his head so that he can see through whatever part of the lens gives him the clearest vision. Altering his head position contributes to neck, back and shoulder pain.

    Frequent breaks: Taking regular and frequent breaks relieve both body and eyestrain.

  • Make sure you look away from your computer screen every 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Take a 10-15 minute break every two hours.
  • Stretch, stand up and walk around. Keeping your shoulder, neck and back muscles limber is important. When these muscles tighten up they contribute to pain.

    Pain causes you to reposition your head in an effort to relieve the pain. This repositioning affects your ability to focus. Alternatively, holding your head in odd positions to accommodate best vision can cause strain in these muscles.

  • Look at and focus on things in the distance. Give your eyes some healthy exercise. It strengthens their ability to focus quickly in near and far ranges after long periods of focusing on intermediate distances.
  • Make sure your employees have regular eye exams. If they use a computer regularly, that is two or more hours daily, make sure they let their eye doctor know so that he can make the appropriate recommendations for their best vision and productivity.
  • Consider making eye exams and eye wear an employee benefit. It will not only improve recruitment and retention, but also will reduce your costs, increase your profits, and reduce liability claims.

    Return From CVS Productivity to Computer Vision Syndrome

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