The American Optometric Association (AOA) reports that above seven out of 10 of the Americans that sit daily on a computer screen (close to 143 million ) experience computer vision syndrome or eye fatigue. Excessive computer use can cause eye stress and impact normal vision processes in kids and adults. If you spend more than two hours daily in front of a computer monitor you are likely to experience some degree of CVS.
Effects of CVS
Symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome include vision difficulties such as dry eyes, blurriness, lack of focus or double vision and muscular problems such as headaches, neck aches and heavy eyes. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms you may have Computer Vision Syndrome.
Causes of Computer Vision Syndrome
Eye strain from excessive computer use is caused by the necessity for our eyes and brain to compensate for processing words on a digital screen differently than they do for printed words. While our visual systems have little problem keeping focus on printed material that has dense black characters with well-defined borders, they are not as adept with texts on a computer screen that don't have the same amount of clarity and sharpness.
Words on a screen are composed of pixels, which are brightest in the center and dimmer toward the edges. Consequently, 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.
Our eyes involuntarily move to the RPA and then have to make a great effort to focus on the images. The continuous flexing of the eyes' focusing muscles results in the symptoms listed above that commonly occur with extended use of a computer or digital device. Computer vision syndrome isn't a matter of concern just for those who spend a lot of time on computers. It's important to note that other digital gadgets such as cell phones or iPads can result in the same eye fatigue that can be in some cases more severe. Because the screens on handheld digital devices are often small the eyes have to put forth even more exertion into focusing on the text.
Computer Vision Syndrome Treatment
Computer vision syndrome can be extremely uncomfortable so if you are suffering from these symptoms it is worthwhile to consult an optometrist as soon as possible.
At an exam, your eye doctor will check to see if you have any vision issues that might contribute to CVS. Depending on the outcome of these tests, your optometrist may prescribe prescription computer eyeglasses to reduce discomfort at your screen. You should think about getting an anti-reflective coating for computer glasses. An anti-reflective 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.
Alternative Treatments for Computer Vision Syndrome
Ergonomics, or changing your workstation to limit the need for your eyes and your body to strain to accommodate, can help minimize 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 problems with vision, wearing prescription computer glasses is also required.
If you think you are suffering or at risk of CVS, contact our Crystal Lake, IL optometry office.