According to the American Optometric Association over seventy percent of employed persons that work daily on a computer (over 140 million ) experience computer vision syndrome or eye fatigue. Excessive computer use can result in eye fatigue and effect typical vision processes in children and adults. If you spend more than two hours daily sitting at a computer monitor it is likely that you will suffer some form of CVS.
Symptoms 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 aches and tired eyes. If you notice any of these symptoms you may have Computer Vision Syndrome.
Causes of CVS
Eye strain from excessive computer use is caused by the need for our visual processing pathways to adapt to processing text on a digital screen in a different way than they do for printed words. While our eyes are used to focusing on printed content that contains solid black characters with well-defined edges, they have more difficulty with characters on a screen that don't have the same amount of contrast and definition.
Words on a computer screen are composed of combinations of tiny points of light (pixels), which are most luminous in the middle and lower in brightness toward the edges. Consequently, it is harder for our visual processing center to focus on on these images. Rather, our eyes prefer to drift to a reduced level of focusing called the ''resting point of accommodation'' or RPA.
Our eyes involuntarily adjust to the resting point of accommodation and then have to make a great effort to focus on the screen. The continual flexing of the eyes' focusing muscles creates the fatigue and eye strain that commonly appear during and after use of a computer or digital device. CVS isn't a concern just for those who spend a lot of time on computers. Other electronic gadgets such as mobile phones or iPads can cause the same strain that can be in some cases more severe. Because the screens on handheld digital devices are often small in addition to pixilated the eyes have to put even more effort into focusing on the text.
Remedies for CVS and Eye Strain
Computer vision syndrome can negatively affect your productivity so if you are suffering from discomfort it is worthwhile to make an appointment with an optometrist as soon as possible.
During a computer vision exam, the eye care professional will perform tests to detect any particular vision problems that could worsen symptoms of computer eye strain. Depending on the results of these tests, your practicioner may recommend prescription computer glasses to help you work more efficiently at your computer . Additionally, you should think about getting an anti-reflective coating for computer eyeglasses. An anti-reflective coating eliminates reflections on the front and back surfaces of the lenses that cause glare and interfere with your ability to see images clearly on your screen.
Alternative Treatments for Computer Vision Syndrome
Ergonomics, or changing your workstation to reduce strains in vision or posture, can help minimize some physical symptoms of computer vision syndrome. A well lit work area and taking periodic breaks from staring at the screen can cause some relief. However, very often computer eyeglasses are also required to fully eliminate CVS.
If you think you are suffering or at risk of computer related eye strain, contact our Mississauga, ON optometric office.