Findings from the American Optometric Association show that above seventy percent of the American citizens that sit every day at a computer screen (about 143 million individuals) suffer from computer vision syndrome or eye fatigue. Prolonged periods of sitting in front of the computer can result in eye strain and effect normal vision processes in kids as well as adults. Anyone that works over two hours on a daily basis on the computer is at risk of suffering from symptoms of computer vision syndrome.
Effects of CVS
Prolonged computer use may lead to many of the symptoms of CVS such as:
- Loss of Focus
- Burning Eyes
- Dry, Tired Eyes
- Double Vision
- Blurred Vision
- Pain in Neck and Shoulders
Causes of CVS
Eye strain from computer use is caused by the need for our visual systems to compensate for processing letters on a computer screen differently than they do for printed characters. While our eyes have little problem keeping focus on printed content that has solid black font with clear borders, they are not as adept with texts on a screen that don't have the same level of clarity and sharpness.
Letters on a digital screen are created by pixels, which are brightest in the center and lower in brightness toward the edges. This makes it harder for our eyes to focus on on this text. Rather, our eyes feel more comfortable at the ''resting point of accommodation'' or RPA.
Through involuntary movements, our eyes adjust to the RPA and then have to make a great effort to focus on the screen. This continual flexing of the eyes' focusing muscles creates the fatigue and eye strain that commonly are present with extended use of a computer or digital device. CVS isn't a matter of concern just for computer users. Other digital devices such as cell phones or tablets can result in the same strain and in some cases even worse. Because mobile screens are smaller the user often strains even more to focus on images.
Treating Computer Vision Syndrome and Eye Fatigue
Computer vision syndrome can be extremely uncomfortable so if you are suffering from discomfort it is worthwhile to make an appointment with an optometrist sooner than later.
At an exam, your eye care professional will check to see if you have any particular vision issues that might worsen computer vision syndrome. According to the results of the exam, your optometrist may suggest ophthalmic computer eyeglasses to reduce discomfort at your computer . An anti-reflective coating is highly recommended for computer eyeglasses. An anti-reflective coating lessens reflections on the front and back surfaces of the lenses that cause glare and interfere with your ability to focus on images on your computer.
Alternative Treatments for CVS
Ergonomics, or changing your workstation to limit the need for your eyes and your body to accommodate in unhealthy ways, can help relieve some physical symptoms of CVS. A well lit work area and taking periodic breaks from staring at the screen can help to some extent. Nevertheless, 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 North Reading, MA optometry practice.