Findings from the American Optometric Association show that over seven out of 10 of employed persons that work for the majority of the day at a computer monitor (which is over 140 million people) suffer from computer vision syndrome or eye strain. Prolonged computer use can cause eye fatigue and impact normal vision development in children as well as adults. Anyone that works over two hours each day on the computer is at risk of suffering from some degree of computer vision syndrome.
Effects of Computer Induced Eye Fatigue
Symptoms of CVS include vision problems such as dry eyes, blurriness, inability to focus or double vision and pain such as headaches, back aches and heavy eyes. If you notice any of these symptoms you may have CVS.
What Are The Causes of Computer Induced Eye Strain?
Computer eye fatigue and CVS result from the necessity for our eyes and brain to compensate for viewing characters on a digital screen in a different way than they do for characters in print. Although our visual systems have little problem focusing on printed material that contains dense black letters with well-defined borders, they have more difficulty with letters on a computer screen that lack the same level of clarity and sharpness.
Words on a digital screen are formed by pixels, which are brightest at the middle and diminish in intensity as they move outward. Consequently, it is harder for our eyes to maintain focus on this text. Instead, our eyes feel more comfortable at the ''resting point of accommodation'' or RPA.
Through involuntary movements, our eyes move to the RPA and then strain to focus on the screen. This constant strain on the muscles of the eyes to focus creates the symptoms listed above that often occur during and after computer use. CVS isn't just a concern for those who spend a lot of time on computers. Other digital gadgets such as cell phones or iPads can result in similar eye fatigue that can be in some cases more severe. Because handheld screens are smaller the eyes have to put even more effort into reading the images.
Treatment for CVS and Eye Fatigue
CVS can be extremely uncomfortable so if you are suffering from discomfort it is worthwhile to consult an optometrist sooner than later.
During an eye exam, your optometrist will perform tests to detect any vision problems that might contribute to CVS. According to the results of these tests, your practicioner may suggest ophthalmic computer eyeglasses to reduce discomfort at your computer . An anti-reflective coating is highly recommended for computer eyeglasses. An anti-reflective coating lessens glare that may interfere with your ability to focus on images on your screen.
Alternative Treatments for CVS
Visual Ergonomics, or setting up your work environment to reduce the need for your eyes and your body to strain to accommodate, can help relieve some of the discomfort of computer vision syndrome. A well lit work area and frequent breaks will cause some relief. However, since ergonomics alone cannot resolve a visual problem, using prescription computer eyeglasses is also necessary.
If you would like to speak to a professional optometrist to speak about the signs and treatments for computer vision syndrome, contact our Frisco, TX optometry practice.