Findings from the American Optometric Association show that more than seven out of 10 of workers that work every day on a computer (which is over 140 million ) suffer the affects of computer vision syndrome (CVS) or eye fatigue. Prolonged periods of working in front of the computer can result in eye strain and impact eyesight in children as well as adults. If you spend more than two hours on a daily basis at a computer screen it is probable that you will experience some level of CVS.
Effects of CVS
Symptoms of CVS include vision difficulties such as dry eyes, blurred vision, inability to focus or double vision and pain such as headaches, neck aches and heavy eyes. If you notice a number of these symptoms you may have Computer Vision Syndrome.
What Causes Computer Vision Syndrome?
Computer eye fatigue and CVS are a result of the necessity for our eyes and brain to adapt to processing characters on an electronic screen in a different way than they do for words in print. While our visual systems have little problem focusing on printed material that has dense black characters with well-defined borders, they have more difficulty with characters on a computer screen that lack the same amount of contrast and sharpness.
Words on a screen are created by pixels, which are most luminous at the middle and diminish in intensity toward the edges. Therefore it is harder for our eyes to focus on on this text. Rather, our eyes feel more comfortable at the ''resting point of accommodation'' or RPA.
Our eyes involuntarily move to the resting point of accommodation and then have to make a great effort to focus on the text. This continuous flexing of the eyes' focusing muscles creates the symptoms listed above that sometimes occur during and after computer use. CVS isn't only a concern for computer users. Other electronic devices such as mobile phones or tablets can result in similar symptoms that can be in some cases even worse. Since handheld screens are smaller the eyes have to work harder toward reading the text.
Computer Vision Syndrome Treatment
Computer vision syndrome can be extremely uncomfortable so if you are experiencing these symptoms it is worthwhile to make an appointment with an optometrist sooner than later.
During an exam, your eye care professional will check to see if you have any particular vision problems that could worsen CVS. Depending on the results of the exam, your practicioner may suggest ophthalmic computer glasses to reduce discomfort at your computer . An anti-reflective coating is highly recommended for computer glasses. An anti-reflective coating lessens reflections on the front and back surfaces of the lenses that cause glare and interfere with your ability to see images clearly on your computer.
Alternative Treatments for CVS
Visual Ergonomics, or physical changes to your workstation to limit the need for your eyes and your body to accommodate in unhealthy ways, can help minimize some physical symptoms of CVS. Adequate lighting and taking periodic breaks from staring at the screen will help to some extent. Nevertheless, since ergonomics alone cannot resolve problems with vision, wearing prescription computer glasses is also required.
If you think you are suffering or at risk of computer vision syndrome, contact our San Francisco, CA optometry office.