According to the American Optometric Association above 70 percent of employed persons that work every day at a computer screen (which is over 140 million individuals) suffer the affects of computer vision syndrome (CVS) or eye fatigue. Excessive computer use can cause eye fatigue and impact typical vision processes in children and adults. Anyone that sits more than two hours daily on the computer is at risk of suffering from some degree of computer vision syndrome.
Signs of Computer Induced Eye Fatigue
Extended use of the computer can lead to many of the common symptoms of computer vision syndrome for instance:
- Blurred or Double Vision
- Neck and Shoulder Pain, Headaches
- Loss of Focus
- Dry, Burning or Tired Eyes
Causes of Computer Vision Syndrome
Computer eye strain and computer vision syndrome are a result of the necessity for our visual processing pathways to adapt to processing words on a computer screen differently than they do for characters in print. Although our visual systems have little problem keeping focus on printed content that has dense black characters with well-defined edges, they are less familiar with letters on a digital screen that don't have the same amount of contrast and sharpness.
Words on a screen are composed of combinations of tiny points of light (pixels), which are most luminous in the middle and diminish in intensity as they move outward. Therefore it is harder for our eyes to focus on on these images. Instead, our eyes prefer to revert to a less strained level of focusing called the ''resting point of accommodation'' or RPA.
Our eyes involuntarily move to the resting point of accommodation and then have to make a great effort to focus on the images. The continuous flexing of the eyes' focusing muscles creates the symptoms listed above that commonly appear during and after use of a computer or digital device. CVS isn't just a concern for computer users. It's important to note that other electronic devices such as cell phones or tablets can result in the same strain that can be in some cases more severe. Because handheld screens are often small in addition to pixilated the user often strains even more to read images.
If you think that you might be at risk for computer vision syndrome, you should consult an eye doctor sooner than later.
During a computer vision exam, your eye doctor will perform tests to detect any particular vision problems that might contribute to CVS. Depending on the outcome of these tests, your practicioner may suggest prescription computer glasses to help you work more efficiently at your computer screen. Additionally, you should consider an anti-reflective coating for computer eyeglasses. Such a coating lessens glare that may affect 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 accommodate in unhealthy ways, can help relieve some of the discomfort of computer vision syndrome. Sufficient lighting and taking periodic breaks from staring at the screen will cause some relief. Nevertheless, since ergonomics alone cannot resolve problems with vision, wearing ophthalmic computer glasses is also required.
If you think you are suffering or at risk of CVS, contact our Blacksburg, VA optometry practice.