According to the American Optometric Association over 70 percent of workers that work daily on a computer screen (close to 143 million ) experience computer vision syndrome or eye strain. Excessive periods of sitting at the computer can cause eye strain and impact eyesight in children as well as adults. Anyone that spends over two hours on a daily basis on the computer is at risk of some degree of computer vision syndrome.
Signs of Computer Vision Syndrome
Signs of CVS include vision problems such as dry eyes, blurriness, lack of focus or double vision and pain such as headaches, neck aches and heavy eyes. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms you may be suffering from Computer Vision Syndrome.
Causes of CVS
Eye strain from computer use is caused by the necessity for our eyes and brain to adapt to processing words on a digital screen in a different way than they do for characters on a page. Although our visual systems are used to focusing on printed content that contains dense black characters with sharp edges, they are less familiar with letters on a screen that lack the same amount of clarity and definition.
Words on a computer screen are composed of combinations of tiny dots of light (pixels), which are brightest in the center and dimmer toward the edges. Consequently, it is more difficult for our visual processing center to maintain focus on these images. Instead, our eyes reduce focus to the ''resting point of accommodation'' or RPA.
Our eyes involuntarily move to the RPA and then strain to focus on the screen. Such continual flexing of the eyes' focusing muscles results in the fatigue and eye strain that often are present with extended computer use. Computer vision syndrome isn't only an issue for those who spend a lot of time on computers. Other handheld gadgets such as cell phones or iPads can cause the same conditions 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 work harder toward focusing on the text.
CVS can be extremely draining so if you are suffering from discomfort it is worthwhile to consult an optometrist as soon as possible.
During an exam, your eye doctor will perform tests to detect any particular vision problems that could worsen CVS. Depending on the results of the exam, your optometrist may recommend ophthalmic computer eyeglasses to reduce discomfort at your computer screen. An anti-reflective coating is highly recommended for computer eyeglasses. Such a coating lessens glare that may interfere with your ability to see images clearly on your screen.
Alternative Treatments for CVS
Ergonomics, or changing your workstation to reduce strains in vision or posture, can help relieve some of the discomfort of computer related eye strain. Adequate lighting and taking periodic breaks from staring at the screen can cause some relief. However, since ergonomics alone cannot resolve a visual problem, using prescription computer glasses is also a must.
If you would like to speak to a professional eye care professional to discuss the signs and treatments for computer related eye strain, contact our Hamburg, MI optometric office.