According to the American Optometric Association (AOA) more than 70 percent of the American citizens that work for the majority of the day from a computer monitor (over 140 million people) experience computer vision syndrome or eye strain. Prolonged computer use can result in eye stress and effect typical vision processes in kids as well as adults. If you spend more than two hours on a daily basis sitting at a computer screen you are likely to experience symptoms of computer related eye fatigue.
Effects of Computer Eye Strain
Prolonged use of the computer may lead to many of the common symptoms of computer vision syndrome for instance:
- Blurry or Double Vision
- Pain in Neck, Shoulders or Head
- Loss of Focus
- Dry, Burning or Tired Eyes
Causes of CVS
Computer eye strain and computer vision syndrome result from the need for our eyes and brain to compensate for viewing characters on an electronic screen in a different way than they do for printed characters. Although our visual systems are used to keeping focus on printed material that has solid black characters with sharp borders, they are not as adept with characters on a digital screen that lack the same degree of contrast and definition.
Characters on a digital screen are formed by pixels, which are brightest at the center and lower in brightness toward the edges. Consequently, it is harder for our visual processing center to keep focus on this text. Instead, our eyes feel more comfortable at the ''resting point of accommodation'' or RPA.
Through involuntary movements, our eyes revert to the RPA and then have to make a great effort to focus on the text. Such constant flexing of the eyes' focusing muscles results in the symptoms listed above that commonly appear during and after use of a computer or digital device. Computer vision syndrome isn't a concern just for those who spend a lot of time on computers. Other digital devices such as mobile phones or iPads can result in similar eye fatigue and in some cases even worse. Since the screens on handheld digital devices are often small in addition to pixilated the eyes have to put forth even more exertion into focusing on the images.
Computer Vision Syndrome Treatment
CVS can negatively affect your productivity so if you are suffering from these symptoms it is worthwhile to consult an optometrist sooner than later.
At a computer vision exam, the eye care professional will check to see if you have any vision issues that might worsen CVS. According to the outcome of the exam, your practicioner may recommend ophthalmic computer glasses to reduce discomfort at your screen. Additionally, you should think about getting an anti-reflective coating for computer glasses. Such a coating lessens reflections on the front and back surfaces of the lenses that cause glare and affect your ability to focus on images on your computer.
Alternative Treatments for Computer Vision Syndrome
Ergonomics, or changing your work environment to limit strains in vision or posture, can help reduce some of the discomfort of CVS. Sufficient lighting and frequent breaks will help to some extent. Nevertheless, since ergonomics alone cannot resolve a visual problem, wearing ophthalmic computer glasses is also a must.
If you think you are suffering or at risk of computer related eye strain, contact our Raleigh, NC optometric office.