According to the American Optometric Association over 70 percent of workers that work for the majority of the day at a computer monitor (which is over 140 million ) suffer from computer vision syndrome (CVS) or eye strain. Excessive computer use can cause eye fatigue and effect eyesight in children as well as adults. If you spend more than two hours on a daily basis in front of a computer monitor it is likely that you will suffer symptoms of computer related eye fatigue.
Effects of Computer Induced Eye Fatigue
Symptoms of CVS include vision problems such as dry eyes, blurred vision, lack of focus or double vision and muscular discomfort such as headaches, back aches and heavy eyes. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms you may have Computer Vision Syndrome.
Causes of Computer Vision Syndrome
Computer eye strain and CVS are caused by the need for our eyes and brain to adapt to processing characters on a computer screen differently than they do for printed characters. While our eyes are used to focusing on printed content that contains dense black letters with sharp edges, they have more difficulty with texts on a computer screen that lack the same level of contrast and definition.
Words on a digital screen are composed of pixels, which are brightest at the center and diminish in intensity toward the edges. Consequently, it is more difficult for our eyes to keep focus on these letters. Rather, our eyes prefer to revert to a lower level of focusing called the ''resting point of accommodation'' or RPA.
Through involuntary movements, our eyes move to the resting point of accommodation and then strain to focus on the text. The continuous flexing of the eyes' focusing muscles creates the fatigue and eye strain that commonly appear with extended use of a computer or digital device. Computer vision syndrome isn't only an issue for those who spend a lot of time on computers. It's important to note that other digital devices such as mobile phones or iPads can result in the same eye fatigue that can be in some cases even worse. Because the screens on handheld digital devices are often small in addition to pixilated the user often strains even more to stay focused on images.
Treating CVS and Eye Fatigue
If you think that you might be at risk for CVS, you should see an optometrist sooner than later.
During a computer vision exam, the optometrist will perform tests to detect any particular vision issues that could contribute to symptoms of computer eye strain. According to the results of the exam, your practicioner may suggest ophthalmic computer eyeglasses to reduce discomfort at your computer . You should consider an anti-reflective coating for computer eyeglasses. An anti-reflective coating lessens reflections on the front and back surfaces of the lenses that cause glare and affect your ability to see images clearly on your screen.
Alternative Treatments for CVS
Visual Ergonomics, or setting up your work environment to limit strains in vision or posture, can help reduce some physical symptoms of computer related eye strain. Adequate lighting and taking periodic breaks from staring at the screen will help to some extent. However, since ergonomics alone cannot resolve a visual problem, wearing prescription computer eyeglasses is also necessary.
If you would like to speak to a professional optometrist to find out more about the risks and treatments for CVS, contact our Richmond, KY optometry office.