The American Optometric Association announced that more than seven out of 10 of employed persons that work every day from a computer monitor (around 143 million people) experience computer vision syndrome (CVS) or eye fatigue. Prolonged computer use can result in eye strain and effect eyesight in kids and adults. If you are working at a computer longer than two hours daily you are likely to experience symptoms of computer vision syndrome.
Signs of CVS
Symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome include vision difficulties such as dry eyes, blurred vision, inability to focus or double vision and muscular pain such as headaches, neck aches and heavy eyes. If you are experiencing a number of these symptoms you may be suffering from CVS.
What Are The Causes of Computer Vision Syndrome?
Computer eye fatigue and CVS are a result of the need for our visual systems to compensate for processing letters on an electronic screen differently than they do for letters on a page. Although our visual systems are used to keeping focus on printed content that contains dense black characters with sharp edges, they have more difficulty with letters on a digital screen that lack the same degree of contrast and definition.
Letters on a digital screen are formed by pixels, which are brightest at the center and lower in brightness toward the edges. This makes it more difficult for our eyes to maintain focus on this text. Instead, our eyes reduce focus to the ''resting point of accommodation'' or RPA.
Our eyes involuntarily revert to the resting point of accommodation and then strain to regain focus on the screen. This constant effort by the eye muscles to focus creates the fatigue and eye strain that commonly are present during and after use of a computer or digital device. CVS isn't just an issue for those who spend a lot of time on computers. It's important to note that other handheld gadgets such as mobile phones or tablets can cause the same symptoms and in some cases even worse. Because the screens on handheld digital devices are smaller the eyes have to work harder toward reading the text.
Treating Computer Vision Syndrome and Eye Strain
If you think that you might be at risk for CVS, you should make an appointment with an eye care professional sooner than later.
At a computer vision exam, the eye doctor will check to see if you have any vision problems that might contribute to CVS. According to the results of these tests, your optometrist may recommend prescription computer eyeglasses to reduce discomfort at your screen. An anti-reflective coating is highly recommended for computer eyeglasses. Such a coating reduces 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 computer workstation to reduce strains in vision or posture, can help relieve some physical symptoms of CVS. Proper lighting and frequent breaks can cause some relief. Nevertheless, since ergonomics alone cannot solve problems with vision, wearing prescription computer glasses is also required.
If you think you are suffering or at risk of computer related eye strain, contact our Potomac, MD optometry practice.