Findings from the American Optometric Association show that above seven out of 10 of employed persons that work each day at a computer screen (around 143 million individuals) experience computer vision syndrome or eye strain. Excessive computer use can cause eye strain and impact eyesight in kids and adults. If you spend more than two hours daily at a computer monitor it is very possible that you will experience some degree of CVS.
Symptoms of Computer Induced Eye Fatigue
Signs of Computer Vision Syndrome include vision problems such as dry eyes, blurriness, lack of focus or double vision and pain such as headaches, back pain and heavy eyes. If you are experiencing a number of these symptoms you may be suffering from Computer Vision Syndrome.
What Causes Computer Induced Eye Fatigue?
Eye fatigue from prolonged computer use is caused by the need for our visual processing pathways to adapt to viewing characters on a digital screen differently than they do for printed characters. Although our visual systems are used to focusing on printed material that contains solid black characters with distinct edges, they are not as adept with characters on a computer screen that don't have the same amount of clarity and sharpness.
Letters on a screen are composed of combinations of tiny dots of light (pixels), which are most luminous at the center and lower in brightness toward the edges. Therefore it is harder for our visual processing center to focus on on these images. Rather, our eyes feel more comfortable at the ''resting point of accommodation'' or RPA.
Our eyes involuntarily adjust to the RPA and then strain to regain focus on the images. This continual flexing of the eyes' focusing muscles creates the fatigue and eye strain that sometimes are present with extended use of a computer or digital device. Computer vision syndrome isn't only an issue for those who spend a lot of time on computers. Other electronic gadgets such as mobile phones or iPads can cause similar strain and in some cases more severe. Because handheld screens are often small in addition to pixilated the user often struggles even more to read images.
If you are at risk for CVS, you should see an optometrist sooner than later.
At a computer vision exam, your eye care professional will check to see if you have any particular vision issues that might worsen computer vision syndrome. Depending on the results of these tests, your optometrist may suggest prescription computer glasses to help you work more comfortably at your computer screen. You should strongly consider an anti-reflective coating for computer eyeglasses. Such a coating lessens reflections on the front and back surfaces of the lenses that cause glare and affect your ability to see images clearly on your computer.
Ergonomics for CVS
Ergonomics, or physical changes to your work environment to reduce strains in vision or posture, can help reduce some of the discomfort of CVS. A well lit work area and taking periodic breaks from staring at the screen can cause some relief. Nevertheless, very often computer eyeglasses are also required to fully eliminate CVS.
If you think you are suffering or at risk of computer vision syndrome, contact our Olathe, KS optometric office.