According to the American Optometric Association more than 70 percent of workers that work daily from a computer screen (which is over 140 million people) experience computer vision syndrome or eye strain. Excessive computer use can cause eye strain and impact eyesight in children as well as adults. Anyone that works over two hours on a daily basis on the computer is at risk of some degree of CVS.
Signs of Computer Eye Strain
Signs of Computer Vision Syndrome include vision difficulties such as dry eyes, blurriness, lack of focus or double vision and muscular discomfort such as headaches, neck pain and tired eyes. If you notice any of these symptoms you may be suffering from Computer Vision Syndrome.
What Are The Causes of CVS?
Computer eye fatigue and CVS are caused by the need for our visual systems to compensate for viewing characters on a computer screen in a different way than they do for printed letters. While our visual systems are used to focusing on printed content that has dense black characters with sharp edges, they have more difficulty with letters on a computer screen that don't have the same degree of clarity and definition.
Letters on a screen are composed of combinations of tiny points of light (pixels), which are most luminous at the middle and lower in brightness as they move outward. This makes it harder for our eyes to maintain focus on these characters. Instead, our eyes are inclined to drift to a lower level of focusing called the ''resting point of accommodation'' or RPA.
Our eyes involuntarily move to the resting point of accommodation and then have to make a great effort to regain focus on the text. Such continual strain on the eye muscles to focus results in the fatigue and eye strain that often are present with extended use of a computer or digital device. CVS isn't only an issue for computer users. It's important to note that other digital devices such as mobile phones or tablets can cause similar eye fatigue that can be in some cases even worse. Because mobile screens are smaller in addition to pixilated the eyes have to put even more effort into reading the text.
CVS can negatively affect your productivity so if you are experiencing discomfort it is worthwhile to see an optometrist sooner than later.
During an exam, your eye doctor will check to see if you have any particular vision issues that could worsen CVS. Depending on the outcome of the exam, your doctor may prescribe ophthalmic computer glasses to reduce discomfort at your screen. Additionally, you should strongly think about getting an anti-reflective coating for computer eyeglasses. Such a coating reduces reflections on the front and back surfaces of the lenses that cause glare and affect your ability to focus on images on your screen.
Alternative Treatments for CVS
Visual Ergonomics, or physical changes to your computer work environment to reduce strains in vision or posture, can help relieve some of the discomfort of computer related eye strain. A well lit work area and taking periodic breaks from staring at the screen can cause some relief. Nevertheless, since ergonomics alone cannot solve a visual problem, using prescription computer eyeglasses is also a must.
If you think you are suffering or at risk of CVS, contact our Lexington, KY optometric practice.