The American Optometric Association reports that above 70 percent of the Americans that work daily from a computer (about 143 million people) experience computer vision syndrome or eye fatigue. Prolonged periods of sitting in front of the computer can result in eye fatigue and impact eyesight in kids and adults. If you work at a computer monitor longer than two hours a day you are likely to experience some form of computer vision syndrome.
Effects of Computer Eye Strain
Symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome include vision difficulties such as dry eyes, blurred vision, inability to focus or double vision and muscular discomfort such as headaches, neck pain and heavy eyes. If you notice any of these symptoms you may have CVS.
Causes of Computer Vision Syndrome
Computer eye strain and computer vision syndrome result from the need for our visual systems to compensate for processing text on a digital screen in a different way than they do for printed characters. Although our eyes have little problem focusing on printed material that has dense 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.
Letters on a computer screen are formed by combinations of tiny points of light (pixels), which are brightest in the middle and lower in brightness as they move outward. Therefore it is more difficult for our visual processing center to keep focus on this text. Instead, our eyes reduce focus to the ''resting point of accommodation'' or RPA.
Through involuntary movements, our eyes revert to the RPA and then strain to regain focus on the screen. Such constant effort by the muscles of the eyes to focus results in the symptoms listed above that often are present with extended computer use. Computer vision syndrome isn't only an issue for computer users. It's important to note that other digital gadgets such as cell phones or tablets can result in the same symptoms and in some cases more severe. Because handheld screens are smaller the eyes have to work harder toward reading the images.
Computer Vision Syndrome Treatment
CVS can be extremely uncomfortable so if you are suffering from discomfort it is worthwhile to consult an eye doctor sooner than later.
During an exam, your optometrist will perform tests to detect any vision issues that could worsen CVS. Depending on the results of these tests, your practicioner may recommend ophthalmic computer glasses to reduce discomfort at your computer . An anti-reflective coating is highly recommended for computer eyeglasses. An anti-reflective coating eliminates 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
Visual Ergonomics, or physical changes to your workstation to limit the need for your eyes and your body to strain to accommodate, can help reduce some of the discomfort of computer related eye strain. Proper lighting and frequent breaks can help to some extent. However, since ergonomics alone cannot solve problems with vision, wearing prescription computer glasses is also required.
If you think you are suffering or at risk of computer vision syndrome, contact our Myrtle Beach, SC optometric practice.