For many Harvard students, the CVS in Harvard Square is a frequent destination. Originally standing for “Consumer Value Stores,” the current CEO Tom Ryan considers “CVS” to stand for “Customer, Value, and Service.”

There’s another CVS that’s relevant to, perhaps, a global audience.

Computer Vision Syndrome.

An article from May 2011 asserts that research suggests, “Brits spend more time looking at screens on smartphones and tablets than they do sleeping, with 61% reporting withdrawal symptoms if they are away from the devices for too long.”

Another article from Jan. 2009 states that children are spending half as much time in class as they do looking at screens.

While the amount of time certainly varies from person to person, it is no secret that screens are a regular part of our life.

Despite popular opinion, extensive testing in government and private laboratories has not produced scientific evidence that computer monitors will harm your eyes. Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS), whose symptoms include eyestrain, headaches, fatigue, dry eyes, and difficulty focusing, is owed more to the conditions surrounding the computer screen rather than the screen itself (i.e. poor lighting, improper placement of computer equipment and computer furniture).


Since screens are not going away anytime soon, here are some practical reminders(most, if not all, are common sense!).

Eye strains occur when the muscle in the eye that controls focusing is overworked.

  • Make sure your vision prescription is up to date.
  • The computer should be 18-28 in. from your eyes, with the center of the screen 4 to 9 in. below your eyes.
  • Adjust the lighting to eliminate glares and reflections.
  • Rest your eyes periodically!!! Frequently take time to focus on something off in the distance. Change the distance your eyes are from the object of focus often. If the eyes are tired, hold things farther away.
  • Every twenty minutes, get up, stretch, and look around.
  • BLINK! The normal blink rate is about 12 times per minute. Computer users usually blink 5 times per minute. Make this a habit.

But so much the more went there a fame abroad of him: and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities.
And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed. Luke 5:15-16 (KJV)

I often wonder what Jesus might have been thinking during his time on earth. Jesus lived with a very clear sense of mission and purpose, being intimately familiar with the will of the Father. He saw beyond the great multitudes that drew to him, beyond simply those who cried out for healing; Jesus saw those in cities and villages and corners far away, forgotten places where people were suffering, where people were hungry for him. Would not that have been overwhelming? There are a great multitude and sick and suffering people waiting!

And yet, Jesus withdraws periodically to pray.

This is not simply Jesus choosing to rest. This is Jesus setting a precedent for us to follow. We (much like our screen-tired eyes) need rest. And true rest… true rest can only be found in the presence of God. In prayer.