The American Optometric Association states that over seventy percent of employed persons that sit daily on a computer screen (which is over 140 million individuals) experience computer vision syndrome (CVS) or eye fatigue. Prolonged computer use can cause eye strain and effect normal vision development in children as well as adults. If you are working at a computer monitor longer than 2 hours on a daily basis it is very possible that you will experience some form of computer related eye fatigue.
Symptoms of CVS
Symptoms of CVS include vision difficulties such as dry eyes, blurred vision, lack of focus or double vision and pain such as headaches, back aches and heavy eyes. If you are experiencing a number of these symptoms you may have Computer Vision Syndrome.
What Are The Causes of Computer Induced Eye Fatigue?
Eye strain from computer use is caused by the necessity for our eyes and brain to adapt to processing text on a digital screen in a different way than they do for printed letters. Although our eyes have little problem keeping focus on printed content that has solid black characters with clear edges, they are not as adept with letters on a digital screen that lack the same level of clarity and sharpness.
Characters on a computer screen are composed of combinations of tiny dots of light (pixels), which are brightest in the center and lower in brightness as they move outward. Therefore it is harder for our eyes to maintain focus 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 strain to focus on the text. The constant effort by the muscles of the eyes to focus results in the symptoms listed above that often occur during and after use of a computer or digital device. Computer vision syndrome isn't just a concern for computer users. Other electronic gadgets such as mobile phones or tablets can result in similar symptoms that can be in some cases more severe. Since the screens on handheld digital devices are smaller the eyes have to put even more effort into focusing on the text.
Treatment for Computer Vision Syndrome and Eye Fatigue
If you think that you might be at risk for computer vision syndrome, you should make an appointment with an eye doctor sooner than later.
During an exam, the eye care professional will perform tests to detect any vision issues that could worsen CVS. According to the results of these tests, your doctor may recommend ophthalmic computer eyeglasses to help you work more comfortably at your computer . An anti-reflective coating is highly recommended for computer eyeglasses. Such a coating reduces reflections on the front and back surfaces of the lenses that cause glare and interfere with your ability to focus on images on your screen.
Alternative Treatments for Computer Vision Syndrome
Visual Ergonomics, or physical changes to your workstation to reduce the need for your eyes and your body to strain to accommodate, can help relieve some of the discomfort of CVS. Adequate lighting and taking periodic breaks from staring at the screen can cause some relief. Nevertheless, very often computer eyeglasses are also required to fully eliminate CVS.
If you think you are suffering or at risk of CVS, contact our Saginaw, MI optometric practice.