Findings from the American Optometric Association show that above seventy percent of employed persons that sit for the majority of the day at a computer monitor (over 140 million individuals) experience computer vision syndrome or eye fatigue. Prolonged computer use can result in eye strain and impact eyesight in children and adults. Anyone that sits more than 2 hours on a daily basis in front of computer is at risk of suffering from some degree of CVS.
Effects of CVS
Extended use of the computer can cause some if not all of the signs of computer eye strain such as:
- Blurred or Double Vision
- Neck and Shoulder Pain, Headaches
- Difficulty Focusing
- Dry, Burning and Tired Eyes
What Are The Causes of Computer Induced Eye Strain?
Eye fatigue from prolonged computer use results from the need for our visual processing pathways to compensate for viewing words on an electronic screen differently than they do for printed letters. While our visual systems are used to focusing on printed content that has solid black letters with clear borders, they have more difficulty with characters on a computer screen that don't have the same amount of clarity and definition.
Characters on a screen are formed by combinations of tiny points of light (pixels), which are brightest in the middle and lower in brightness toward the edges. This makes it harder for our eyes to maintain focus on this text. Rather, our eyes reduce focus to the ''resting point of accommodation'' or RPA.
Our eyes involuntarily revert to the RPA and then have to make a great effort to regain focus on the images. The continuous flexing of the eyes' focusing muscles creates the fatigue and eye strain that commonly occur with extended use of a computer or digital device. CVS isn't a concern just for computer users. Other handheld gadgets such as cell phones or iPads can cause similar symptoms that can be in some cases even worse. Since the screens on handheld digital devices are often small the user often strains even more to read images.
Computer Vision Syndrome Treatment
If you are at risk for computer vision syndrome, you should see an optometrist sooner than later.
During a computer vision exam, your eye doctor will check to see if you have any vision problems that could worsen CVS. According to the results of the exam, your practicioner may prescribe ophthalmic computer eyeglasses to help you work more efficiently at your computer . An anti-reflective coating is highly recommended for computer glasses. Such a coating lessens reflections on the front and back surfaces of the lenses that cause glare and affect your ability to focus on images on your screen.
Ergonomics for Computer Vision Syndrome
Ergonomics, or setting up your work environment to reduce the need for your eyes and your body to accommodate in unhealthy ways, can help minimize some physical symptoms of computer vision syndrome. A well lit work area and taking periodic breaks from staring at the screen will help to some extent. However, since ergonomics alone cannot solve problems with vision, using prescription computer eyeglasses is also necessary.
If you would like to consult with a professional eye doctor to discuss the signs and treatments for computer related eye strain, contact our Lambertville, NJ optometric practice.