Findings from the American Optometric Association indicate that above 70 percent of employed persons that work every day from a computer monitor (over 140 million individuals) experience computer vision syndrome or eye strain. Prolonged computer use can cause eye stress and effect typical vision processes in children and adults. If you are sitting at a computer screen for more than 2 hours on a daily basis you are likely to suffer some form of computer vision syndrome.
Symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome
Prolonged use of the computer can lead to some if not all of the common symptoms of CVS including:
- Blurred or Double Vision
- Pain in Neck, Back or Head
- Loss of Focus
- Dry, Burning or Tired Eyes
What Are The Causes of Computer Induced Eye Fatigue?
Eye strain from excessive computer use is caused by the need for our visual processing pathways to adapt to processing text on an electronic screen in a different way than they do for letters in print. While our visual systems have little problem focusing on printed material that contains solid black font with distinct edges, they are not as adept with letters on a digital screen that don't have the same level of clarity and definition.
Words on a screen are composed of combinations of tiny dots of light (pixels), which are most luminous in the middle and dimmer as they move outward. This makes it harder for our eyes to focus on on this text. Rather, our eyes are inclined to drift to a less strained level of focusing called the ''resting point of accommodation'' or RPA.
Through involuntary movements, our eyes move to the RPA and then have to make a great effort to focus on the screen. This continual effort by the eye muscles to focus results in the fatigue and eye strain that commonly appear during and after computer use. CVS isn't only an issue for computer users. It's important to note that other electronic gadgets such as smart phones or tablets can result in similar symptoms that can be in some cases even worse. Since mobile screens are often small the user often strains even more to stay focused on text.
Computer Vision Syndrome Treatment
If you are at risk for computer vision syndrome, you should see an eye doctor sooner than later.
During an exam, the optometrist will perform tests to detect any vision problems that could contribute to computer vision syndrome. According to the outcome of these tests, your optometrist may recommend prescription computer eyeglasses to help you work more comfortably at your screen. You should think about getting an anti-reflective coating for computer eyeglasses. An anti-reflective coating lessens 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 CVS
Ergonomics, or setting up your workstation to limit strains in vision or posture, can help minimize some physical symptoms of CVS. A well lit work area and frequent breaks will help to some extent. Nevertheless, since ergonomics alone cannot resolve problems with vision, using ophthalmic computer eyeglasses is also a must.
If you think you are suffering or at risk of CVS, contact our Mill Creek, WA optometry office.