The American Optometric Association (AOA) reports that more than seven out of 10 of workers that work daily at a computer monitor (about 143 million people) experience computer vision syndrome or eye fatigue. Excessive computer use can result in eye fatigue and effect normal vision processes in children as well as adults. If you spend more than two hours daily at a computer screen you are likely to suffer some form of computer related eye fatigue.
Symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome
Lengthy use of the computer can lead to some or all of the common symptoms of computer eye strain for instance:
- Difficulty Focusing
- A Burning Sensation
- Dry, Tired Eyes
- Double Vision
- Blurred Vision
- Pain in Neck and Shoulders
Causes of CVS
Eye strain from excessive computer use is caused by the need for our visual processing pathways to compensate for processing letters on a computer screen differently than they do for characters in print. While our visual systems are used to keeping focus on printed content that has dense black letters with sharp edges, they have more difficulty with letters on a screen that lack the same level of clarity and sharpness.
Letters on a computer screen are composed of combinations of tiny points of light (pixels), which are brightest in the middle and dimmer toward the edges. Therefore it is more difficult for our eyes to keep focus on these letters. Instead, our eyes reduce focus to the ''resting point of accommodation'' or RPA.
Through involuntary movements, our eyes revert to the RPA and then strain to regain focus on the screen. This continuous strain on the eye muscles to focus results in the symptoms listed above that often appear with extended use of a computer or digital device. CVS isn't only an issue for computer users. It's important to note that other digital gadgets such as smart phones or tablets can cause similar conditions and in some cases even worse. Because mobile screens are smaller the eyes have to work harder toward focusing on the images.
Computer Vision Syndrome Treatment
If you are at risk for CVS, you should make an appointment with an optometrist as soon as possible.
At an exam, your optometrist will check to see if you have any particular vision problems that could contribute to symptoms of computer eye strain. Depending on the results of these tests, your practicioner may recommend prescription computer eyeglasses to reduce discomfort at your computer . An anti-reflective coating is highly recommended for computer eyeglasses. An anti-reflective coating reduces glare that may affect your ability to see images clearly on your screen.
Ergonomics for Computer Vision Syndrome
Visual Ergonomics, or changing your workstation to reduce strains in vision or posture, can help minimize some physical symptoms of CVS. Proper lighting and frequent breaks can help to some extent. Nevertheless, since ergonomics alone cannot resolve a visual problem, wearing prescription computer glasses is also necessary.
If you think you are suffering or at risk of computer vision syndrome, contact our Westerville, OH optometry office.