The American Optometric Association (AOA) announced that over seven out of 10 of workers that work daily from a computer monitor (close to 143 million ) experience computer vision syndrome or eye strain. Prolonged periods of sitting in front of the computer can cause eye stress and impact normal vision development in children as well as adults. If you spend more than two hours daily at a computer monitor you are likely to experience some degree of computer related eye fatigue.
Signs of Computer Induced Eye Fatigue
Symptoms of CVS include vision problems such as dry eyes, blurred vision, inability to focus or double vision and pain such as headaches, back aches and tired eyes. If you are experiencing a number of these symptoms you may be suffering from CVS.
Causes of Computer Vision Syndrome
Computer eye fatigue and CVS are caused by the need for our eyes and brain to compensate for viewing words on a computer screen in a different way than they do for words in print. While our visual systems have little problem keeping focus on printed content that contains solid black letters with sharp borders, they are less familiar with characters on a digital screen that lack the same degree of clarity and definition.
Characters on a digital screen are composed of combinations of tiny dots of light (pixels), which are most luminous in the middle and diminish in intensity toward the edges. This makes it harder for our eyes to focus on on these images. Instead, our eyes feel more comfortable at the ''resting point of accommodation'' or RPA.
Our eyes involuntarily revert to the resting point of accommodation and then strain to focus on the text. Such continual flexing of the eyes' focusing muscles results in the fatigue and eye strain that often appear with extended computer use. Computer vision syndrome isn't only a concern for computer users. Other digital devices such as mobile phones or tablets can cause the same eye fatigue and in some cases even worse. Since the screens on handheld digital devices are often small the eyes have to put forth even more effort into focusing on the images.
Treating Computer Vision Syndrome and Eye Strain
CVS can be extremely uncomfortable so if you are suffering from discomfort it is worthwhile to consult an eye care professional as soon as possible.
At an exam, your eye care professional will perform tests to detect any particular vision problems that could worsen computer vision syndrome. According to the outcome of the exam, your practicioner may suggest prescription computer glasses to reduce discomfort at your computer . Additionally, you should strongly think about getting an anti-reflective coating for computer eyeglasses. An anti-reflective 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 screen.
Ergonomics for CVS
Visual Ergonomics, or changing your computer workstation to limit strains in vision or posture, can help minimize some physical symptoms of computer related eye strain. Adequate lighting and taking periodic breaks from staring at the screen will help to some extent. However, very often computer eyeglasses are also required to fully eliminate CVS.
If you would like to speak to a professional eye care professional to find out more about the signs and treatments for computer vision syndrome, contact our San Diego, CA optometric practice.