According to the American Optometric Association (AOA) more than seven out of 10 of workers that sit daily at a computer monitor (close to 143 million individuals) suffer the affects of computer vision syndrome (CVS) or eye strain. Excessive computer use can result in eye fatigue and effect typical vision development in kids and adults. If you spend more than two hours daily sitting at a computer you are likely to experience some level of computer related eye fatigue.
Signs of CVS
Symptoms of CVS include vision difficulties such as dry eyes, blurriness, inability to focus or double vision and pain such as headaches, neck pain and tired eyes. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms you may be suffering from CVS.
Causes of Computer Vision Syndrome
Computer eye fatigue and computer vision syndrome result from the necessity for our visual systems to adapt to viewing letters on an electronic screen in a different way than they do for printed characters. Although our visual systems have little problem keeping focus on printed content that contains dense black characters with clear edges, they are less familiar with letters on a digital screen that don't have the same level of clarity and definition.
Words on a computer screen are composed of pixels, which are most luminous at the middle and lower in brightness toward the edges. Therefore it is harder for our eyes to maintain focus on this text. Rather, our eyes reduce focus to the ''resting point of accommodation'' or RPA.
Through involuntary movements, our eyes move to the resting point of accommodation and then have to make a great effort to regain focus on the screen. The continual flexing of the eyes' focusing muscles creates the fatigue and eye strain that sometimes are present during and after use of a computer or digital device. CVS isn't only an issue for those who spend a lot of time on computers. It's important to note that other electronic gadgets such as cell phones or iPads can result in the same strain and in some cases more severe. Because the screens on handheld digital devices are often small the user often strains even more to read text.
Computer Vision Syndrome Treatment
If you think that you might be at risk for computer vision syndrome, you should see an eye care professional sooner than later.
At an exam, the eye care professional will check to see if you have any particular vision problems that could worsen symptoms of computer eye strain. According to the results of these tests, your doctor may prescribe ophthalmic computer glasses to reduce discomfort at your computer . Additionally, you should strongly consider an anti-reflective coating for computer eyeglasses. Such a coating reduces reflections on the front and back surfaces of the lenses that cause glare and interfere with your ability to see images clearly on your computer.
Ergonomics for Computer Vision Syndrome
Ergonomics, or physical changes to your computer work environment to limit the need for your eyes and your body to accommodate in unhealthy ways, can help reduce some of the discomfort of CVS. Proper lighting and taking periodic breaks from staring at the screen can help to some extent. However, since ergonomics alone cannot resolve a visual problem, using ophthalmic computer glasses is also necessary.
If you would like to consult with a professional eye doctor to discuss the signs and treatments for computer vision syndrome, contact our Hoover, AL optometric practice.