Findings from the American Optometric Association indicate that more than seven out of 10 of employed persons that work every day from a computer (over 140 million individuals) experience computer vision syndrome (CVS) or eye fatigue. Prolonged periods of sitting in front of the computer can cause eye stress and effect eyesight in kids and adults. Anyone that spends more than 2 hours per day at computer is at risk of suffering from some degree of computer related eye fatigue.
Signs of Computer Vision Syndrome
Symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome include vision difficulties such as dry eyes, blurred vision, lack of focus or double vision and pain such as headaches, neck pain and heavy eyes. If you are experiencing a number of these symptoms you may have Computer Vision Syndrome.
Causes of CVS
Computer eye strain and CVS result from the need for our visual systems to adapt to processing characters on an electronic screen in a different way than they do for characters in print. Although our eyes have little problem focusing on printed material that has dense black characters with well-defined borders, they are less familiar with letters on a digital screen that lack the same degree of clarity and sharpness.
Characters on a screen are composed of combinations of tiny dots of light (pixels), which are brightest in the middle and lower in brightness as they move outward. Consequently, it is more difficult for our visual processing center to keep focus on these characters. Rather, our eyes prefer to drift to a less strained 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 text. This continuous effort by the muscles of the eyes to focus creates the symptoms listed above that often appear with extended computer use. CVS isn't just an issue for those who spend a lot of time on computers. Other digital devices such as cell phones or iPads can cause the same conditions that can be in some cases more severe. Since handheld screens are often small in addition to pixilated the eyes have to work harder toward focusing on the text.
Treating Computer Vision Syndrome and Eye Fatigue
If you think that you might be at risk for computer induced eye strain, you should consult an eye doctor as soon as possible.
At an exam, the optometrist will perform tests to detect any vision problems that might contribute to symptoms of computer eye strain. According to the outcome of the exam, your optometrist may recommend ophthalmic computer eyeglasses to help you work more efficiently at your screen. Additionally, you should strongly consider an anti-reflective coating for computer glasses. An anti-reflective coating lessens glare that may interfere with your ability to see images clearly on your computer.
Ergonomics for CVS
Visual Ergonomics, or changing your workstation to reduce strains in vision or posture, can help minimize some of the discomfort of computer vision syndrome. A well lit work area and taking periodic breaks from staring at the screen can help to some extent. Nevertheless, since ergonomics alone cannot solve a visual problem, using prescription computer eyeglasses is also required.
If you think you are suffering or at risk of CVS, contact our West Winfield, NY optometric practice.