Findings from the American Optometric Association show that over seven out of 10 of the American citizens that work each day from a computer (which is over 140 million ) suffer from computer vision syndrome or eye fatigue. Excessive computer use can result in eye stress and effect normal vision processes in kids as well as adults. If you spend more than two hours each day in front of a computer monitor you are likely to suffer symptoms of CVS.
Symptoms of CVS
Prolonged use of the computer may result in many of the signs of CVS including:
- Burning Eyes
- Dry, Heavy Eyes
- Double Vision
- Blurred Sight
- Neck and Shoulder Pain
Causes of Computer Vision Syndrome
Computer eye strain and CVS are a result of the need for our visual systems to adapt to processing characters on a digital screen differently than they do for printed letters. Although our visual systems are used to focusing on printed material that has dense black characters with well-defined edges, they are less familiar with texts on a screen that don't have the same amount of clarity and sharpness.
Letters on a computer screen are composed of combinations of tiny points of light (pixels), which are most luminous at the center and lower in brightness toward the edges. Consequently, it is more difficult for our eyes to keep focus on these characters. Instead, our eyes feel more comfortable at 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 text. This continuous strain on the eye muscles to focus results in the symptoms listed above that sometimes occur with extended use of a computer or digital device. Computer vision syndrome isn't a matter of concern just for those who spend a lot of time on computers. It's important to note that other digital devices such as smart phones or iPads can cause similar strain and in some cases more severe. Since the screens on handheld digital devices are smaller the eyes have to put forth even more effort into focusing on the text.
Computer Vision Syndrome Treatment
CVS can negatively affect your productivity so if you are suffering from these symptoms it is worthwhile to make an appointment with an eye doctor sooner than later.
At a computer vision exam, your eye care professional will check to see if you have any particular vision problems that might contribute to CVS. Depending on the outcome of these tests, your optometrist may recommend prescription computer glasses to help you work more comfortably at your screen. Additionally, you should strongly consider an anti-reflective coating for computer glasses. An anti-reflective coating lessens glare that may interfere with your ability to focus on images on your screen.
Ergonomics for Computer Vision Syndrome
Visual Ergonomics, or physical changes to your work environment to limit strains in vision or posture, can help relieve some physical symptoms of computer vision syndrome. A well lit work area and taking periodic breaks from staring at the screen will cause some relief. Nevertheless, very often computer eyeglasses are also required to fully eliminate CVS.
If you would like to consult with a professional eye doctor to discuss the risks and treatments for computer related eye strain, contact our Plano, TX optometry office.