Findings from the American Optometric Association show that above seventy percent of the American citizens that sit every day from a computer monitor (which is over 140 million individuals) experience computer vision syndrome or eye fatigue. Prolonged computer use can cause eye fatigue and impact typical vision processes in children and adults. Anyone that spends more than two hours daily at computer is at risk of some degree of computer related eye fatigue.
Symptoms of Computer Eye Strain
Prolonged computer use can cause some if not all of the common signs of CVS such as:
- Burning Eyes
- Dry, Heavy Eyes
- Double Vision
- Blurred Sight
- Pain in Neck and Shoulders
Causes of Computer Vision Syndrome
Eye fatigue from prolonged computer use results from the need for our visual systems to adapt to processing letters on an electronic screen differently than they do for printed words. While our eyes have little problem keeping focus on printed content that contains dense black font with clear edges, they are less familiar with texts on a computer screen that lack the same degree of clarity and definition.
Letters on a computer screen are composed of combinations of tiny dots of light (pixels), which are brightest at the center and lower in brightness toward the edges. This makes it harder for our visual processing center to keep focus on this text. Rather, our eyes reduce focus to the ''resting point of accommodation'' or RPA.
Our eyes involuntarily move to the RPA and then strain to regain focus on the images. The continuous strain on the eye muscles to focus creates the symptoms listed above that sometimes appear during and after use of a computer or digital device. CVS isn't only an issue for those who spend a lot of time on computers. It's important to note that other handheld devices such as mobile phones or tablets can cause the same eye fatigue and in some cases even worse. Since mobile screens are smaller the eyes have to work harder toward reading the images.
Computer Vision Syndrome Treatment
If you are at risk for computer induced eye fatigue, you should consult an optometrist as soon as possible.
At a computer vision exam, your eye doctor will check to see if you have any particular vision issues that could worsen CVS. According to the results of the exam, your optometrist may prescribe ophthalmic computer glasses to reduce discomfort at your screen. Additionally, you should think about getting an anti-reflective coating for computer glasses. Such a coating reduces reflections on the front and back surfaces of the lenses that cause glare and interfere with your ability to see images clearly on your screen.
Ergonomics for Computer Vision Syndrome
Visual Ergonomics, or setting up your computer work environment to reduce the need for your eyes and your body to strain to accommodate, can help minimize some physical symptoms of computer vision syndrome. Proper lighting and frequent breaks can help to some extent. However, since ergonomics alone cannot resolve a visual problem, using ophthalmic computer eyeglasses is also a must.
If you think you are suffering or at risk of CVS, contact our Manchester, CT optometric practice.