The American Optometric Association (AOA) reports that above seven out of 10 of employed persons that work each day at a computer screen (close to 143 million ) suffer the affects of computer vision syndrome (CVS) or eye strain. Prolonged computer use can cause eye fatigue and impact typical vision processes in kids as well as adults. Anyone that sits more than 2 hours per day in front of computer is at risk of suffering from symptoms of CVS.
Signs of Computer Eye Strain
Signs of CVS include vision difficulties such as dry eyes, blurriness, inability to focus or double vision and pain such as headaches, neck aches and tired eyes. If you are experiencing a number of these symptoms you may have Computer Vision Syndrome.
What Are The Causes of CVS?
Eye strain from computer use results from the need for our visual processing pathways to adapt to processing characters on a computer screen in a different way than they do for letters in print. Although our visual systems are used to focusing on printed content that contains dense black font with sharp borders, they are not as adept with characters on a screen that lack the same amount of clarity and definition.
Characters on a computer screen are composed of pixels, which are most luminous at the middle and diminish in intensity toward the edges. This makes it more difficult for our eyes to maintain focus on this text. Instead, our eyes are inclined to drift to a lower level of focusing called the ''resting point of accommodation'' or RPA.
Our eyes involuntarily move to the RPA and then strain to regain focus on the text. Such constant flexing of the eyes' focusing muscles creates the fatigue and eye strain that often appear with extended computer use. CVS isn't a concern just for computer users. Other electronic devices such as cell phones or tablets can result in similar eye fatigue and in some cases more severe. Since the screens on handheld digital devices are smaller the user often struggles even more to read images.
Treating CVS and Eye Strain
CVS can negatively affect your productivity so if you are suffering from discomfort it is worthwhile to see an optometrist as soon as possible.
At a computer vision exam, the eye doctor will perform tests to detect any particular vision issues that could contribute to symptoms of computer eye strain. According to the results of these tests, your doctor may recommend prescription computer glasses to help you work more efficiently at your computer screen. Additionally, you should strongly consider an anti-reflective coating for computer eyeglasses. Such a coating reduces glare that may interfere with your ability to focus on images on your screen.
Ergonomics for CVS
Visual Ergonomics, or changing your computer work environment to limit the need for your eyes and your body to accommodate in unhealthy ways, can help relieve some of the discomfort of computer vision syndrome. Adequate lighting and frequent breaks can help to some extent. Nevertheless, very often computer eyeglasses are also required to fully eliminate CVS.
If you think you are suffering or at risk of computer vision syndrome, contact our Bloomington, IL optometry practice.