Findings from the American Optometric Association indicate that over 70 percent of employed persons that work daily on a computer screen (which is over 140 million people) suffer from computer vision syndrome (CVS) or eye fatigue. Prolonged periods of sitting at the computer can result in eye stress and effect eyesight in children and adults. If you sit at a computer monitor more than 2 hours daily you are likely to suffer some form of CVS.
Symptoms of Computer Induced Eye Fatigue
Lengthy computer use may lead to some or all of the signs of CVS including:
- Blurred or Double Vision
- Pain in Neck, Back or Head
- Loss of Focus
- Dry, Burning and Tired Eyes
Causes of Computer Vision Syndrome
Computer eye strain and CVS are caused by the need for our eyes and brain to adapt to viewing letters on a digital screen differently than they do for printed words. While our visual systems have little problem focusing on printed material that has dense black characters with clear edges, they have more difficulty with texts on a screen that don’t have the same level of contrast and sharpness.
Characters on a screen are composed of combinations of tiny dots of light (pixels), which are brightest in the center and diminish in intensity toward the edges. Consequently, it is harder for our eyes to keep focus on these letters. Instead, our eyes feel more comfortable at the ”resting point of accommodation” or RPA.
Our eyes involuntarily adjust to the resting point of accommodation and then strain to regain focus on the screen. Such constant flexing of the eyes’ focusing muscles results in the symptoms listed above that sometimes occur with extended use of a computer or digital device. CVS isn’t a concern just for those who spend a lot of time on computers. Other handheld gadgets such as cell phones or tablets can result in the same symptoms that can be in some cases even worse. Since handheld screens are smaller in addition to pixilated the user often strains even more to focus on text.
Treating CVS and Eye Strain
If you are at risk for computer induced eye strain, you should call our office to make an appointment (480-513-3937).
At THE exam, WE will perform tests to detect any particular vision problems that might contribute to CVS. According to the outcome of these tests, AS your optometrist, I may prescribe ophthalmic computer glasses to reduce discomfort at your screen. An anti-reflective coating is highly recommended for computer eyeglasses. An anti-reflective coating reduces glare that may interfere with your ability to see images clearly on your screen. To assist us in these assessments, please measure the distance from the bridge of your nose to your keyboard as well as to you monitor and bring those measurements, along with any glasses worn, to your appointment.
Ergonomics for Computer Vision Syndrome
Ergonomics, or setting up your computer workstation to reduce the need for your eyes and your body to accommodate in unhealthy ways, can help relieve some physical symptoms of computer vision syndrome. Sufficient lighting and frequent breaks can cause some relief. We will discuss these issues during your appointment. Nevertheless, very often computer eyeglasses are also required to fully eliminate CVS.
If you think you are suffering or at risk of CVS, contact our Scottsdale, AZ optometric office.