According to the American Optometric Association more than seven out of 10 of the American citizens that work daily at a computer screen (over 140 million individuals) experience computer vision syndrome (CVS) or eye fatigue. Excessive computer use can result in eye stress and effect eyesight in children as well as adults. Anyone that works more than 2 hours a day on the computer is at risk of symptoms of computer related eye fatigue.
Effects of Computer Vision Syndrome
Lengthy use of the computer may cause many of the common signs of computer induced eye fatigue including:
- Loss of Focus
- Burning Eyes
- Dry, Tired Eyes
- Double Vision
- Blurred Vision
- Pain in Neck and Shoulders
What Are The Causes of CVS?
Eye fatigue from excessive computer use results from the need for our eyes and brain to compensate for processing characters on an electronic screen differently than they do for printed words. Although our eyes have little problem keeping focus on printed content that has solid black characters with clear edges, they have more difficulty with letters on a screen that lack the same degree of clarity and sharpness.
Words on a digital screen are composed of pixels, which are most luminous at the center and diminish in intensity as they move outward. Consequently, it is more difficult for our eyes to keep focus on these letters. Rather, our eyes reduce focus to the ''resting point of accommodation'' or RPA.
Through involuntary movements, our eyes revert to the RPA and then have to make a great effort to focus on the screen. The continual flexing of the eyes' focusing muscles results in the symptoms listed above that sometimes appear with extended use of a computer or digital device. Computer vision syndrome isn't just a concern for computer users. It's important to note that other digital gadgets such as smart phones or tablets can result in the same conditions and in some cases more severe. Because mobile screens are smaller the eyes have to work harder toward reading the text.
Treatment for CVS and Eye Fatigue
If you are at risk for CVS, you should consult an eye doctor as soon as possible.
During an exam, the eye doctor will perform tests to detect any vision issues that could contribute to symptoms of computer eye strain. According to the outcome of the exam, your doctor may prescribe ophthalmic computer eyeglasses to reduce discomfort at your computer . An anti-reflective coating is highly recommended for computer eyeglasses. Such a 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 screen.
Alternative Treatments for Computer Vision Syndrome
Visual Ergonomics, or changing your computer work environment to limit the need for your eyes and your body to strain to accommodate, can help reduce some of the discomfort of computer related eye strain. Proper lighting and frequent breaks will cause some relief. Nevertheless, since ergonomics alone cannot solve a visual problem, using prescription computer eyeglasses is also a must.
If you would like to speak to a professional optometrist to speak about the signs and treatments for CVS, contact our Knoxville, TN optometric office.