Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 2, Issue 6, Tuesday July 27, 2004






Computer vision syndrome

Undoubtedly one of the key features of modern civilization, computers, are essential in almost every aspects of our life. Indeed it has made our lives simpler and faster and in no time became an integrated part of our everyday life. For reason or no reason one that has access to computers will find him/herself in front of this machine whether to work or just to pass the time through the limitless blessings of this machine. However, too much exposure to computers does have its impact on the human health, as there is a relation with eyestrain and computers. Widely known as Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS), it is in fact a collection of symptoms of vision problems related to near work that might be caused or aggravated by regular computer use. Experts say that more than two hours a day regularly on the computers puts one at risk of developing CVS. It sure is a matter of great concern especially for those who are engaged in work that requires operating computers on a regular basis.

Computers do put stress in the eyes causing headaches, blurred visions and fatigue. But there are few reasons which causes CVS in a person. One of the major causes of CVS is improper lighting in the computer room. The lighting must be evenly distributed and one has to keep in mind that too much light can cause glare. Poor computer screens are also hazardous to eye sine low resolution, low pixel numbers and high contrast colours put extra strain in the eyes when reading from screen. Reflections on the computer screens are dangerous as well because it causes light to shine in the eyes which is quite harmful. The duration of computer related working hour is also important because sitting at a computer for longer periods of time can cause discomforts in the eye along with orthopedic problems such as back, neck or shoulder pain.

The CVS results in several discomforts in the eye including tired eyes, eyestrain, sore eyes, periodic blur vision, dry eyes, occasional blurred distance vision, red eyes, burning eyes, glare sensitivity, excessive tearing and headaches. However, no matter how negative the impact of computers on human health is, civilization is crippled without this machine. As a result it is wise to prevent the situation that causes CVS.

At very first one has to ensure that the computer screen is of a very good quality and make sure that the resolution is set as high as possible. While using the computer one must also blink more often than usual and use if necessary mild lubricating drops if there is a dry eye. It is also recommended that people look away from the screen at least once in 20 minutes and focus on something in the distance for at least 20 seconds. One also has to make sure that no bright lights shine into computer screen. Arrangement of too many lights must be prohibited as over lighting within one space distract one's eyes from the screen and cause glare on the screen. Lighting has to be arranged in such a way so that it minimizes glare and reflections. It is also strongly advised that neither the person nor the computer is facing the window. The positioning of the computers is also very important. It is suggested that computer screen should be 50-60 cm away from the userís face and the monitor has to be arranged in such a way so that the top line of on screen text is at eye level. A very crucial point is to place reference material alongside and as close to the computer screen as possible in order to avoid frequent head and eye movement and focusing changes. Lastly for those who are regular computer users, it is advised that they have their eyes checked every six to eight months by eye specialist just to be on the safe side.

By Obaidur Rahman

Special feature

Looking for cheaper petrol?

You've got a car and you are yearning to open up the valves for a fast blast down the highway. Of course the fastest you will manage to go is slightly below the speed of an arthritic snail.

So there you are sitting in the traffic jam watching the needle of the fuel gauge go down. At the present cost of fuel, the descent of the fuel gauge is inversely proportional to the rate of your heartbeat. Conversion to CNG would give you a car that is cheaper to run but the conversion process itself hurts the wallet like a truck running over a chicken crossing the road. Maybe that was a bit too graphic but you get drift.

What would you say if someone told you that you could buy octane at around 29 taka per liter? You probably would not have anything to say because you would be busy heading for the wallet and car keys. Cheap fuel can be found pretty much all over the country. These are tiny makeshift shops much like tea stalls. Some of these are not even shops but big wooden trunks that store gallon cans. These can be found around the commercial parts of residential areas such as the locality surrounding the Mohammadpur bazaar or Gulshan 2. Also look near bus stands and car workshops.

The question is how can they get fuel at such low rates? Wait for a few minutes and you will invariably see a private or office car park discreetly. The chauffeur steps out to quickly carry out a shady deal. The shop people insert a pipe into the tank, siphon out the liquid and pay the driver anything from 15 to 20 taka per liter. It is all over under two minutes and the driver is off feeling smug at duping his boss.

This business existed for a long time but recently the stalls are sprouting all over the place. This way the drivers can show the owners the receipt from the pump that they bought the proper amount. The loss of fuel can be simply blamed on the poor fuel consumption of the engine. Heck, it can even be blamed on the thieving petrol pump owners. It is easier for the drivers to sell the fuel when the car they drive is an old one. The excuse is that the engine is old and weak. As for government cars, well, the sky is the limit for pilferage. Car owners beware; your gas guzzler might not be a guzzler after all.

The quality of the fuel is dubious. New cars or those with big engines will run smoothly even if the petrol is adulterated. But that is only for a short while. So if you want to buy it do so at your own risk.

This business is robbery no matter which point you look from. Asked about the ethical issue, one proprietor of a shop near Kawran Bazaar said that where there is a seller there is a buyer. They cannot refuse someone who wants to sell it off. They prefer to look the other way if the annoying conscience ever comes knocking. After all, they are making at least 10 taka profit per litre. One mans loss is another's gain.

Once again CNG seems to be a solution to fuel robbery. So far there is not any way to steal gas but I am sure our Bangali ingenuity will soon find a way.

By Ehsanur Raza Ronny


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