Findings from the American Optometric Association indicate that more than seventy percent of workers that work daily on a computer monitor (which is over 140 million ) experience computer vision syndrome (CVS) or eye fatigue. Prolonged computer use can result in eye strain and impact eyesight in kids as well as adults. Anyone that sits more than 2 hours on a daily basis on the computer is at risk of some degree of computer related eye fatigue.
Symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome
Extended use of the computer may cause many of the symptoms of computer induced eye fatigue such as:
- A Burning Sensation
- Dry, Tired Eyes
- Double Vision
- Blurred Sight
- Neck and Back Pain
Causes of Computer Vision Syndrome
Eye fatigue from prolonged computer use results from the need for our eyes and brain to adapt to processing letters on a digital screen differently than they do for printed letters. While our eyes are used to keeping focus on printed material that has dense black letters with sharp borders, they are less familiar with texts on a digital screen that lack the same amount of clarity and definition.
Characters on a computer screen are created by combinations of tiny points of light (pixels), which are most luminous in the middle and lower in brightness toward the edges. This makes it more difficult for our visual processing center to focus on on this text. Rather, our eyes feel more comfortable at 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 focus on the text. This constant flexing of the eyes' focusing muscles creates the fatigue and eye strain that commonly are present during and after computer use. CVS isn't only an issue for those who spend a lot of time on computers. It's important to note that other handheld devices such as cell phones or tablets can cause the same conditions and in some cases even worse. Because the screens on handheld digital devices are smaller in addition to pixilated the eyes have to work harder toward focusing on the images.
Remedies for Computer Vision Syndrome and Eye Strain
CVS can negatively affect your productivity so if you are suffering from discomfort it is worthwhile to see an eye doctor sooner than later.
At an exam, the eye doctor will perform tests to detect any vision issues that could contribute to symptoms of computer eye strain. Depending on the results of the exam, your doctor may prescribe prescription computer eyeglasses to help you work more efficiently at your computer screen. An anti-reflective coating is highly recommended for computer eyeglasses. An anti-reflective coating reduces reflections on the front and back surfaces of the lenses that cause glare and interfere with your ability to see images clearly on your screen.
Ergonomics for CVS
Ergonomics, or setting up your computer work environment to reduce 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 can help to some extent. However, since ergonomics alone cannot solve a visual problem, using ophthalmic computer eyeglasses is also necessary.
If you would like to speak to a professional optometrist to discuss the risks and symptoms for computer related eye strain, contact our Baltimore, MD optometry practice.