According to the American Optometric Association above 70 percent of the American citizens that work daily from a computer (about 143 million ) experience computer vision syndrome (CVS) or eye fatigue. Prolonged periods of working in front of the computer can result in eye strain and effect eyesight in children as well as adults. Anyone that works over 2 hours on a daily basis at computer is at risk of suffering from some degree of CVS.
Symptoms of CVS
Lengthy computer use may lead to many of the usual signs of computer vision syndrome such as:
Blurred or Double Vision
- Pain in Neck, Back or Head
- Difficulty Focusing
- Dry, Burning or Tired Eyes
Causes of CVS
Eye fatigue from excessive computer use is caused by the need for our visual processing pathways to adapt to processing text on a digital screen differently than they do for printed letters. While our visual systems are used to focusing on printed material that contains solid black letters with sharp edges, they are not as adept with texts on a screen that lack the same degree of contrast and definition.
Words on a digital screen are composed of combinations of tiny dots of light (pixels), which are brightest in the middle and dimmer as they move outward. This makes it harder for our eyes to maintain focus on these images. Instead, our eyes feel more comfortable at 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. The continuous effort by the eye muscles to focus results in the symptoms listed above that commonly are present during and after computer use. Computer vision syndrome isn't a concern just for those who spend a lot of time on computers. Other handheld gadgets such as mobile phones or iPads can cause the same strain and in some cases even worse. Since the screens on handheld digital devices are smaller in addition to pixilated the eyes have to work harder toward reading the images.
Treating Computer Vision Syndrome and Eye Fatigue
CVS can negatively affect your productivity so if you are experiencing these symptoms it is worthwhile to see an eye doctor as soon as possible.
During a computer vision exam, your eye care professional will perform tests to detect any particular vision issues that could worsen CVS. Depending on the results of the exam, your doctor may suggest prescription computer glasses to reduce discomfort at your computer screen. An anti-reflective coating is highly recommended for computer glasses. Such a coating eliminates reflections on the front and back surfaces of the lenses that cause glare and affect your ability to focus on images on your screen.
Alternative Treatments for Computer Vision Syndrome
Ergonomics, or setting up your work environment to limit the need for your eyes and your body to accommodate in unhealthy ways, can help minimize some of the discomfort of CVS. Adequate lighting and frequent breaks will help to some extent. Nevertheless, since ergonomics alone cannot solve problems with vision, wearing ophthalmic computer eyeglasses is also necessary.
If you would like to speak to a professional eye care professional to find out more about the risks and symptoms for computer vision syndrome, contact our Escondido, CA optometric practice.