The American Optometric Association states that above seven out of 10 of workers that sit daily at a computer monitor (around 143 million ) suffer the affects of computer vision syndrome or eye strain. Excessive periods of sitting at the computer can cause eye strain and impact eyesight in kids and adults. If you spend more than two hours each day sitting at a computer it is likely that you will suffer some level of CVS.
Effects of CVS
Signs of Computer Vision Syndrome include vision difficulties such as dry eyes, blurriness, lack of focus or double vision and pain such as headaches, back pain and tired eyes. If you notice any of these symptoms you may have CVS.
Causes of CVS
Eye strain from computer use is caused by the need for our eyes and brain to compensate for viewing text on a computer screen in a different way than they do for printed letters. While our eyes have little problem focusing on printed content that contains dense black font with clear edges, they are not as adept with texts on a computer screen that don't have the same amount of contrast and definition.
Words on a digital screen are created by pixels, which are brightest in the center and diminish in intensity toward the edges. Consequently, it is more difficult for our visual processing center to maintain focus on this text. Rather, our eyes prefer to drift to a reduced level of focusing called the ''resting point of accommodation'' or RPA.
Our eyes involuntarily adjust to the RPA and then strain to focus on the images. The continuous flexing of the eyes' focusing muscles results in the fatigue and eye strain that often occur with extended computer use. Computer vision syndrome isn't only a concern for computer users. It's important to note that other digital devices such as cell phones or iPads can cause similar symptoms and in some cases more severe. Because the screens on handheld digital devices are often small the user often strains even more to read text.
Remedies for CVS and Eye Fatigue
If you are at risk for computer induced eye strain, you should make an appointment with an eye care professional sooner than later.
At a computer vision exam, the eye care professional will perform tests to detect any vision issues that might worsen computer vision syndrome. Depending on the outcome of these tests, your doctor may prescribe ophthalmic computer eyeglasses to help you work more efficiently at your screen. An anti-reflective coating is highly recommended for computer eyeglasses. An anti-reflective coating reduces glare that may interfere with your ability to see images clearly on your screen.
Alternative Treatments for Computer Vision Syndrome
Visual Ergonomics, or changing your workstation to limit the need for your eyes and your body to accommodate in unhealthy ways, can help reduce some of the discomfort of computer related eye strain. Adequate lighting and frequent breaks will cause some relief. However, since ergonomics alone cannot resolve a visual problem, using ophthalmic computer eyeglasses is also necessary.
If you think you are suffering or at risk of computer vision syndrome, contact our Long Beach, CA optometry office.