The American Optometric Association (AOA) announced that above seven out of 10 of employed persons that work every day on a computer (close to 143 million people) suffer from computer vision syndrome or eye strain. Excessive computer use can result in eye stress and impact eyesight in children and adults. Anyone that sits over 2 hours daily in front of computer is at risk of suffering from some degree of computer related eye fatigue.
Effects of CVS
Symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome include vision problems such as dry eyes, blurred vision, lack of focus or double vision and muscular discomfort such as headaches, back pain and heavy eyes. If you are experiencing a number of these symptoms you may have CVS.
What Are The Causes of Computer Vision Syndrome?
Computer eye fatigue and CVS result from the necessity for our visual processing pathways to adapt to processing letters on an electronic screen in a different way than they do for characters on a page. While our visual systems are used to focusing on printed material that has dense black font with well-defined edges, they are not as adept with texts on a digital screen that don't have the same amount of contrast and sharpness.
Letters on a screen are created by combinations of tiny dots of light (pixels), which are brightest in the center and lower in brightness toward the edges. Consequently, it is harder for our visual processing center to keep focus on this text. Rather, our eyes feel more comfortable at the ''resting point of accommodation'' or RPA.
Our eyes involuntarily move to the RPA and then have to make a great effort to regain focus on the text. The continual flexing of the eyes' focusing muscles creates the symptoms listed above that often are present with extended use of a computer or digital device. CVS isn't just a concern for those who spend a lot of time on computers. Other electronic devices such as cell phones or tablets can cause the same symptoms that can be in some cases more severe. Because mobile screens are smaller the eyes have to put even more exertion into reading the text.
Computer Vision Syndrome Treatment
If you are at risk for computer vision syndrome, you should see an optometrist as soon as possible.
During an exam, the optometrist will check to see if you have any vision problems that could worsen CVS. According to the outcome of these tests, your practicioner may suggest prescription computer eyeglasses to help you work more efficiently at your screen. An anti-reflective coating is highly recommended for computer glasses. Such a coating eliminates reflections on the front and back surfaces of the lenses that cause glare and interfere with your ability to focus on images on your computer.
Ergonomics for Computer Vision Syndrome
Visual Ergonomics, or setting up your computer workstation to limit strains in vision or posture, can help reduce some physical symptoms of computer vision syndrome. A well lit work area and frequent breaks will cause some relief. However, since ergonomics alone cannot solve a visual problem, wearing ophthalmic computer glasses is also necessary.
If you think you are suffering or at risk of computer related eye strain, contact our Tucson, AZ optometric office.