Findings from the American Optometric Association show that over seventy percent of the Americans that sit each day on a computer (which is over 140 million individuals) suffer the affects of computer vision syndrome or eye strain. Prolonged periods of working in front of the computer can cause eye strain and impact typical vision development in kids as well as adults. Anyone that works over two hours on a daily basis on the computer is at risk of suffering from some degree of computer vision syndrome.
Signs of Computer Induced Eye Fatigue
Signs of Computer Vision Syndrome include vision problems such as dry eyes, blurred vision, lack of focus or double vision and muscular problems such as headaches, neck aches and tired eyes. If you notice any of these symptoms you may have Computer Vision Syndrome.
Causes of CVS
Eye strain from excessive computer use results from the need for our eyes and brain to adapt to viewing letters on an electronic screen in a different way than they do for printed letters. Although our visual systems have little problem focusing on printed material that has solid black font with clear borders, they are not as adept with characters on a digital screen that lack the same level of contrast and sharpness.
Characters on a computer screen are formed by combinations of tiny dots of light (pixels), which are most luminous at the center and diminish in intensity toward the edges. Consequently, it is harder for our visual processing center to focus on on these images. Rather, our eyes reduce focus to the ''resting point of accommodation'' or RPA.
Our eyes involuntarily move to the resting point of accommodation and then strain to focus on the screen. Such continual flexing of the eyes' focusing muscles creates the symptoms listed above that sometimes are present during and after computer use. CVS isn't only a concern for computer users. It's important to note that other electronic devices such as smart phones or iPads can result in the same eye fatigue that can be in some cases more severe. Because the screens on handheld digital devices are smaller in addition to pixilated the user often strains even more to stay focused on images.
If you are at risk for computer vision syndrome, you should see an optometrist as soon as possible.
At a computer vision exam, the eye care professional will check to see if you have any particular vision problems that might contribute to symptoms of computer eye strain. Depending on the results of the exam, your doctor may suggest ophthalmic computer glasses to help you work more efficiently at your computer screen. An anti-reflective coating is highly recommended for computer glasses. Such a coating lessens glare that may interfere with your ability to see images clearly on your computer.
Ergonomics for CVS
Visual Ergonomics, or setting up your work environment to reduce strains in vision or posture, can help relieve some of the discomfort of computer related eye strain. Proper lighting and taking periodic breaks from staring at the screen can help to some extent. Nevertheless, very often computer eyeglasses are also required to fully eliminate CVS.
If you would like to speak to a professional eye care professional to find out more about the risks and symptoms for computer vision syndrome, contact our Glastonbury, CT optometry office.