The American Optometric Association reports that over seven out of 10 of the Americans that work for the majority of the day at a computer screen (close to 143 million ) suffer the affects of computer vision syndrome or eye fatigue. Prolonged computer use can result in eye strain and effect typical vision development in children and adults. Anyone that works more than two hours a day on the computer is at risk of some degree of computer vision syndrome.
Symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome
Lengthy computer use can cause many of the symptoms of computer eye strain for instance:
- Blurry or Double Vision
- Pain in Neck, Back or Head
- Difficulty Focusing
- Dry, Burning or Tired Eyes
What Causes CVS?
Eye fatigue from prolonged computer use results from the necessity for our eyes and brain to adapt to viewing characters on a computer screen in a different way than they do for letters in print. Although our eyes are used to focusing on printed material that contains dense black font with sharp edges, they are not as adept with characters on a computer screen that lack the same degree of contrast and definition.
Characters on a digital screen are composed of combinations of tiny dots of light (pixels), which are most luminous in the center and lower in brightness as they move outward. This makes it more difficult for our eyes to maintain focus on this text. Rather, our eyes are inclined to drift to a reduced level of focusing called the ''resting point of accommodation'' or RPA.
Our eyes involuntarily revert to the resting point of accommodation and then have to make a great effort to regain focus on the text. This continuous flexing of the eyes' focusing muscles results in the symptoms listed above that sometimes appear with extended computer use. Computer vision syndrome isn't only an issue for those who spend a lot of time on computers. It's important to note that other digital gadgets such as smart phones or iPads can result in the same strain and in some cases more severe. Since the screens on handheld digital devices are smaller in addition to pixilated the eyes have to work harder toward focusing on the text.
Treating Computer Vision Syndrome and Eye Fatigue
If you are at risk for CVS, you should consult an eye doctor as soon as possible.
During a computer vision exam, your eye care professional will perform tests to detect any particular vision problems that could worsen CVS. According to the outcome of the exam, your doctor may recommend ophthalmic computer glasses to reduce discomfort at your computer screen. An anti-reflective coating is highly recommended 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 physical changes to your work environment to limit the need for your eyes and your body to accommodate in unhealthy ways, can help reduce some physical symptoms of computer related eye strain. Proper lighting and frequent breaks will cause some relief. However, since ergonomics alone cannot solve a visual problem, using prescription computer glasses is also required.
If you would like to consult with a professional optometrist to speak about the signs and treatments for computer vision syndrome, contact our Alpharetta, GA optometric office.