According to the American Optometric Association over 70 percent of the American citizens that sit every day on a computer screen (which is over 140 million people) suffer from computer vision syndrome (CVS) or eye fatigue. Prolonged computer use can cause eye fatigue and effect eyesight in children and adults. Anyone that sits more than two hours per day at computer is at risk of suffering from some degree of CVS.
Symptoms of Computer Eye Strain
Extended use of the computer can cause many of the common symptoms of CVS for instance:
- Blurred or Double Vision
- Neck and Shoulder Pain, Headaches
- Difficulty Focusing
- Dry, Burning or Tired Eyes
Causes of CVS
Eye fatigue from excessive computer use results from the necessity for our visual processing pathways to adapt to viewing text on a digital screen in a different way than they do for letters in print. While our visual systems have little problem focusing on printed content that has dense black characters with sharp edges, they are not as adept with texts on a digital screen that lack the same amount of contrast and sharpness.
Letters on a digital screen are composed of pixels, which are most luminous in the center and lower in brightness as they move outward. This makes it harder for our eyes to keep focus on this text. Rather, our eyes reduce focus to the ''resting point of accommodation'' or RPA.
Our eyes involuntarily move to the RPA and then strain to focus on the images. This constant effort by the eye muscles to focus creates the fatigue and eye strain that often appear with extended use of a computer or digital device. Computer vision syndrome isn't a matter of concern just for computer users. Other handheld gadgets such as mobile phones or iPads can result in similar symptoms that can be in some cases more severe. Because mobile screens are often small the user often strains even more to focus on images.
Treatment for Computer Vision Syndrome and Eye Fatigue
CVS can negatively affect your productivity so if you are experiencing discomfort it is worthwhile to see an optometrist sooner than later.
At a computer vision exam, the eye care professional will check to see if you have any vision issues that could contribute to CVS. According to the results of the exam, your doctor may suggest prescription computer eyeglasses to help you work more efficiently at your computer screen. Additionally, you should strongly think about getting an anti-reflective coating for computer glasses. An anti-reflective coating lessens glare that may affect your ability to focus on images on your computer.
Ergonomics for Computer Vision Syndrome
Ergonomics, or setting up your computer workstation to limit strains in vision or posture, can help minimize some of the discomfort of computer related eye strain. A well lit work area and taking periodic breaks from staring at the screen will 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 vision syndrome, contact our Old Bridge, NJ optometry practice.