According to the American Optometric Association above seven out of 10 of the American citizens that sit for the majority of the day at a computer screen (which is over 140 million ) experience computer vision syndrome or eye fatigue. Prolonged computer use can cause eye fatigue and effect typical vision development in children as well as adults. If you spend more than two hours daily sitting at a computer you are likely to suffer some form of CVS.
Signs of CVS
Extended use of the computer may lead to some if not all of the usual signs of computer induced eye fatigue for instance:
- Difficulty Focusing
- Burning Eyes
- Dry, Tired Eyes
- Double Vision
- Blurry Vision
- Pain in Neck and Shoulders
What Causes CVS?
Computer eye strain and CVS result from the need for our visual processing pathways to adapt to viewing text on an electronic screen in a different way than they do for characters on a page. While our visual systems are used to focusing on printed material that contains dense black characters with sharp borders, they are less familiar with letters on a digital screen that lack the same amount of clarity and sharpness.
Letters on a screen are composed of pixels, which are brightest in the middle and lower in brightness toward the edges. Consequently, it is harder for our visual processing center to maintain focus on this text. Instead, our eyes reduce focus to the ''resting point of accommodation'' or RPA.
Our eyes involuntarily revert to the resting point of accommodation and then have to make a great effort to regain focus on the screen. This continual flexing of the eyes' focusing muscles results in the symptoms listed above that commonly appear during and after computer use. Computer vision syndrome isn't only an issue for computer users. It's important to note that other handheld gadgets such as cell phones or iPads can cause similar conditions and in some cases more severe. Because handheld screens are often small in addition to pixilated the eyes have to put forth even more exertion into focusing on the images.
Treatment for Computer Vision Syndrome and Eye Strain
If you think that you might be at risk for CVS, you should see an eye doctor sooner than later.
During a computer vision exam, your eye care professional will check to see if you have any particular vision issues that could contribute to CVS. Depending on the results of the exam, your practicioner may suggest ophthalmic computer eyeglasses to help you work more efficiently at your computer screen. Additionally, you should think about getting an anti-reflective coating for computer eyeglasses. Such a coating reduces glare that may affect your ability to focus on images on your computer.
Alternative Treatments for Computer Vision Syndrome
Visual Ergonomics, or changing your workstation to limit the need for your eyes and your body to strain to accommodate, can help reduce some physical symptoms of CVS. Adequate lighting and frequent breaks will cause some relief. However, very often computer eyeglasses are also required to fully eliminate CVS.
If you think you are suffering or at risk of computer related eye strain, contact our optometric office.