The American Optometric Association (AOA) states that over seven out of 10 of employed persons that work for the majority of the day at a computer monitor (over 140 million individuals) suffer the affects of computer vision syndrome or eye strain. Prolonged computer use can result in eye stress and effect eyesight in kids as well as adults. Anyone that works more than two hours daily at computer is at risk of symptoms of computer related eye fatigue.
Effects of Computer Induced Eye Fatigue
Extended use of the computer can lead to some if not all of the usual symptoms of computer induced eye fatigue including:
- Blurry or Double Vision
- Neck and Shoulder Pain, Headaches
- Difficulty Focusing
- Dry, Burning or Tired Eyes
Causes of Computer Vision Syndrome
Eye strain from excessive computer use is caused by the need for our visual systems to adapt to processing characters on a computer screen differently than they do for words in print. Although our visual systems have little problem focusing on printed content that contains dense black font with clear edges, they are not as adept with letters on a digital screen that don't have the same amount of contrast and sharpness.
Letters on a screen are composed of pixels, which are most luminous at the center and dimmer toward the edges. This makes it harder for our eyes to focus on on these images. Instead, 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 adjust to the RPA and then strain to focus on the text. The continual flexing of the eyes' focusing muscles results in the fatigue and eye strain that often occur with extended computer use. CVS isn't just an issue for those who spend a lot of time on computers. It's important to note that other electronic devices such as cell phones or iPads can cause similar symptoms that can be in some cases more severe. Because the screens on handheld digital devices are often small the user often struggles even more to read text.
Computer Vision Syndrome Treatment
If you are at risk for computer vision syndrome, you should see an eye doctor sooner than later.
At an exam, the optometrist will check to see if you have any vision problems that could worsen CVS. According to the outcome of the exam, your practicioner may prescribe 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 reflections on the front and back surfaces of the lenses that cause glare and affect your ability to focus on images on your computer.
Alternative Treatments for Computer Vision Syndrome
Ergonomics, or physical changes to your workstation to limit strains in vision or posture, can help relieve some of the discomfort of computer related eye strain. A well lit work area and taking periodic breaks from staring at the screen will cause some relief. Nevertheless, since ergonomics alone cannot solve a visual problem, wearing prescription computer eyeglasses is also required.
If you would like to consult with a professional eye doctor to speak about the signs and symptoms for CVS, contact our Canton, OH optometric practice.