According to the American Optometric Association (AOA) above seven out of 10 of employed persons that sit daily at a computer screen (over 140 million people) experience computer vision syndrome or eye fatigue. Prolonged computer use can result in eye stress and impact typical vision development in children and adults. Anyone that sits over 2 hours daily at computer is at risk of suffering from some degree of computer related eye fatigue.
Effects of CVS
Symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome include vision difficulties such as dry eyes, blurred vision, inability to focus or double vision and muscular discomfort such as headaches, back pain and heavy eyes. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms you may be suffering from CVS.
Causes of CVS
Computer eye fatigue and computer vision syndrome are a result of the necessity for our visual processing pathways to compensate for processing characters on an electronic screen differently than they do for printed characters. Although our visual systems are used to focusing on printed material that has solid black font with sharp edges, they are not as adept with letters on a computer screen that lack the same degree of contrast and definition.
Characters on a computer screen are composed of pixels, which are most luminous at the center and diminish in intensity as they move outward. Therefore it is more difficult for our eyes to maintain focus on this text. Rather, our eyes are inclined to revert to a lower level of focusing called the ''resting point of accommodation'' or RPA.
Through involuntary movements, our eyes move to the RPA and then strain to regain focus on the images. This continuous flexing of the eyes' focusing muscles creates the symptoms listed above that often are present during and after computer use. Computer vision syndrome isn't a concern just for those who spend a lot of time on computers. Other handheld devices such as mobile phones or tablets can result in similar strain and in some cases even worse. Because the screens on handheld digital devices are smaller in addition to pixilated the eyes have to put forth even more effort into focusing on the images.
If you are at risk for CVS, you should make an appointment with an eye care professional as soon as possible.
During a computer vision exam, the optometrist will perform tests to detect any vision issues that could worsen computer vision syndrome. Depending on the results of these tests, your practicioner may suggest prescription computer glasses to help you work more efficiently at your computer . You should strongly consider an anti-reflective coating for computer glasses. An anti-reflective coating eliminates glare that may affect your ability to see images clearly on your computer.
Alternative Treatments for Computer Vision Syndrome
Visual Ergonomics, or setting up your computer work environment to reduce strains in vision or posture, can help relieve some physical symptoms of computer vision syndrome. A well lit work area and taking periodic breaks from staring at the screen will 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 Rye Brook, NY optometric practice.