According to the American Optometric Association (AOA) more than 70 percent of workers that sit for the majority of the day from a computer (close to 143 million ) suffer the affects of computer vision syndrome or eye fatigue. Excessive periods of working at the computer can cause eye fatigue and impact eyesight in children as well as adults. If you spend more than two hours on a daily basis at a computer monitor it is very possible that you will suffer some degree of computer vision syndrome.
Symptoms of Computer Eye Strain
Prolonged use of the computer may result in many of the common signs of CVS for instance:
- Loss of Focus
- A Burning Sensation
- Dry, Tired Eyes
- Double Vision
- Blurred Vision
- Neck and Back Pain
What Are The Causes of Computer Induced Eye Fatigue?
Eye fatigue from excessive computer use results from the need for our visual systems to compensate for viewing letters on a computer screen differently than they do for characters in print. While our visual systems have little problem keeping focus on printed material that contains dense black font with sharp edges, they have more difficulty with characters on a digital screen that don't have the same degree of contrast and sharpness.
Letters on a digital screen are formed by pixels, which are brightest at the center and dimmer as they move outward. Therefore it is harder for our eyes to keep focus on this text. Rather, our eyes reduce focus to the ''resting point of accommodation'' or RPA.
Our eyes involuntarily adjust to the RPA and then have to make a great effort to focus on the screen. Such continual flexing of the eyes' focusing muscles results in the symptoms listed above that sometimes appear during and after use of a computer or digital device. Computer vision syndrome isn't a concern just for computer users. Other electronic devices such as mobile phones or tablets can result in similar strain that can be in some cases more severe. Since the screens on handheld digital devices are smaller in addition to pixilated the eyes have to work harder toward focusing on the text.
Computer Vision Syndrome Treatment
CVS can negatively affect your productivity so if you are suffering from these symptoms it is worthwhile to consult an eye care professional as soon as possible.
At an exam, the eye doctor will check to see if you have any vision problems that might worsen CVS. Depending on the outcome of these tests, your optometrist may prescribe ophthalmic computer eyeglasses to reduce discomfort at your screen. Additionally, you should strongly consider an anti-reflective coating for computer eyeglasses. An anti-reflective coating eliminates glare that may affect your ability to see images clearly on your computer.
Ergonomics for Computer Vision Syndrome
Visual Ergonomics, or physical changes to your computer work environment to limit strains in vision or posture, can help minimize some physical symptoms of computer related eye strain. Proper lighting and frequent breaks can 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 discuss the signs and treatments for CVS, contact our Duluth, MN optometry practice.