According to the American Optometric Association over seventy percent of workers that sit daily from a computer (close to 143 million individuals) experience computer vision syndrome or eye fatigue. Prolonged computer use can cause eye stress and effect eyesight in kids and adults. Anyone that sits over 2 hours per day on the computer is at risk of some degree of CVS.
Effects of Computer Eye Strain
Symptoms of CVS include vision problems such as dry eyes, blurriness, lack of focus or double vision and pain such as headaches, neck pain and heavy eyes. If you notice any of these symptoms you may be suffering from Computer Vision Syndrome.
What Causes CVS?
Computer eye fatigue and CVS result from the need for our visual processing pathways to compensate for processing letters on an electronic screen in a different way than they do for characters on a page. While our eyes have little problem keeping focus on printed content that contains solid black font with well-defined edges, they are less familiar with characters on a digital screen that lack the same level of clarity and definition.
Characters on a digital screen are created by combinations of tiny dots of light (pixels), which are most luminous in the middle and diminish in intensity toward the edges. This makes it harder for our visual processing center to keep focus on these characters. Rather, our eyes feel more comfortable at the ''resting point of accommodation'' or RPA.
Through involuntary movements, our eyes move to the RPA and then have to make a great effort to focus on the text. This continual strain on the eye muscles to focus creates the fatigue and eye strain that often appear with extended computer use. CVS isn't only a concern for those who spend a lot of time on computers. It's important to note that other handheld devices such as smart phones or iPads can cause the same conditions that can be in some cases even worse. Because mobile screens are often small in addition to pixilated the user often strains even more to read text.
Computer Vision Syndrome Treatment
If you think that you might be at risk for computer vision syndrome, you should consult an eye care professional as soon as possible.
At an exam, the eye doctor will perform tests to detect any particular vision problems that might contribute to CVS. According to the outcome of the exam, your practicioner may recommend prescription computer eyeglasses to reduce discomfort at your computer . An anti-reflective coating is highly recommended for computer eyeglasses. An anti-reflective coating lessens glare that may interfere with your ability to focus on images on your screen.
Ergonomics for Computer Vision Syndrome
Visual Ergonomics, or physical changes to your work environment to limit the need for your eyes and your body to accommodate in unhealthy ways, can help minimize some of the discomfort of computer vision syndrome. A well lit work area and taking periodic breaks from staring at the screen will cause some relief. Nevertheless, since ergonomics alone cannot resolve a visual problem, using prescription computer glasses is also a must.
If you think you are suffering or at risk of CVS, contact our Costa Mesa, CA optometry practice.