Findings from the American Optometric Association show that above seventy percent of the American citizens that work daily at a computer monitor (close to 143 million people) suffer the affects of computer vision syndrome (CVS) or eye fatigue. Excessive periods of sitting at the computer can result in eye fatigue and impact normal vision processes in children as well as adults. If you are working at a computer monitor longer than 2 hours each day you are likely to experience symptoms of CVS.
Effects of CVS
Signs of Computer Vision Syndrome include vision problems such as dry eyes, blurred vision, lack of focus or double vision and pain such as headaches, neck pain and tired eyes. If you notice a number of these symptoms you may be suffering from CVS.
What Are The Causes of Computer Induced Eye Strain?
Computer eye fatigue and CVS result from the need for our visual systems to compensate for viewing text on an electronic screen differently than they do for words on a page. While our eyes have little problem keeping focus on printed material that contains solid black letters with sharp borders, they have more difficulty with letters on a digital screen that lack the same degree of clarity and sharpness.
Letters on a screen are created by combinations of tiny dots of light (pixels), which are brightest at the center and lower in brightness toward the edges. Therefore it is harder for our visual processing center to keep focus on these letters. Instead, our eyes reduce focus to the ”resting point of accommodation” or RPA.
Our eyes involuntarily revert to the RPA and then strain to regain focus on the text. The constant effort by the muscles of the eyes to focus results in the fatigue and eye strain that commonly are present with extended computer use. CVS isn’t a concern just for those who spend a lot of time on computers. It’s important to note that other electronic gadgets such as cell phones or tablets can cause similar conditions and in some cases even worse. Since the screens on handheld digital devices are smaller the user often strains even more to focus on text.
Remedies for Computer Vision Syndrome and Eye Strain
If you think that you might be at risk for CVS, you should see an optometrist as soon as possible.
During a computer vision exam, your optometrist will check to see if you have any particular vision issues that could worsen symptoms of computer eye strain. According to the results of these tests, your optometrist may suggest prescription computer eyeglasses to reduce discomfort at your computer screen. An anti-reflective coating is highly recommended for computer eyeglasses. Such a coating eliminates glare that may interfere with your ability to see images clearly on your computer.
Ergonomics for CVS
Ergonomics, or physical changes to your work environment to limit the need for your eyes and your body to strain to accommodate, can help relieve some physical symptoms of computer related eye strain. Proper lighting and frequent breaks can help to some extent. Nevertheless, since ergonomics alone cannot solve a visual problem, using prescription computer glasses is also necessary.
If you would like to consult with a professional eye doctor to discuss the risks and treatments for computer vision syndrome, contact our Miami Beach, FL optometry practice.