The American Optometric Association reports that more than 70 percent of workers that sit every day on a computer monitor (which is over 140 million ) experience computer vision syndrome (CVS) or eye fatigue. Prolonged periods of working in front of the computer can result in eye strain and impact eyesight in kids as well as adults. If you are working at a computer longer than two hours a day you are likely to experience symptoms of computer related eye fatigue.
Signs of Computer Vision Syndrome
Extended computer use may lead to many of the common symptoms of CVS including:
- Burning Eyes
- Dry, Heavy Eyes
- Double Vision
- Blurred Sight
- Neck and Shoulder Pain
What Causes Computer Vision Syndrome?
Computer eye fatigue and CVS are caused by the need for our eyes and brain to adapt to processing text on a digital screen differently than they do for printed letters. Although our visual systems have little problem keeping focus on printed material that has dense black letters with clear edges, they are less familiar with characters on a computer screen that lack the same amount of contrast and definition.
Words on a screen are formed by combinations of tiny points of light (pixels), which are brightest at the middle and dimmer as they move outward. Consequently, it is more difficult for our eyes to focus on on these letters. Instead, our eyes feel more comfortable at the ''resting point of accommodation'' or RPA.
Our eyes involuntarily adjust to the resting point of accommodation and then strain to focus on the text. This continuous strain on the muscles of the eyes to focus creates the symptoms listed above that commonly are present during and after computer use. CVS isn't just a concern for those who spend a lot of time on computers. Other handheld gadgets such as mobile phones or tablets can result in the same eye fatigue that can be in some cases even worse. Since mobile screens are often small the user often struggles even more to read text.
Treating CVS and Eye Strain
Computer vision syndrome can be extremely draining so if you are experiencing discomfort it is worthwhile to make an appointment with an eye care professional sooner than later.
During a computer vision exam, the eye care professional will perform tests to detect any particular vision issues that could contribute to symptoms of computer eye strain. According to the outcome of these tests, your practicioner may prescribe ophthalmic computer eyeglasses to reduce discomfort at your computer screen. Additionally, you should strongly think about getting an anti-reflective coating for computer eyeglasses. Such a coating lessens glare that may interfere with your ability to see images clearly on your screen.
Alternative Treatments for Computer Vision Syndrome
Visual Ergonomics, or setting up your workstation to reduce the need for your eyes and your body to accommodate in unhealthy ways, can help relieve some physical symptoms of computer related eye strain. Sufficient lighting and frequent breaks will help to some extent. However, since ergonomics alone cannot resolve a visual problem, wearing prescription computer eyeglasses is also required.
If you would like to speak to a professional eye care professional to find out more about the risks and treatments for computer vision syndrome, contact our Kennesaw, Georgia optometry office.