Computer Vision Syndrome, or CVS, describes a group of eye and vision-related problems that result from prolonged computer, tablet, e-reader and cell phone use. Many individuals experience eye discomfort and vision problems when viewing digital screens for extended periods. The severity of the symptoms appear to increase with the amount of digital screen use.
Did you know…
The average American worker spends seven hours a day on the computer either in the office or working from home. At New Optix Optometry, your eye doctor is working to educate both employers and employees about how to avoid digital eye strain in the workplace, to further increase quality of life and productivity. To help alleviate digital eye strain, follow the 20-20-20 rule; for every 20 minutes working, take a break for 20 seconds and view something 20 feet away.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome?
The most common symptoms associated with CVS are eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision, dry eyes, neck and shoulder pain, glare at night.
What are some causes of Computer Vision Syndrome?
CVS may be caused by poor lighting, glare on a digital screen, improper viewing distances, poor seating posture, uncorrected vision problems, improper protection from blue light, or a combination of these factors.
The extent to which individuals experience visual symptoms often depends on the level of their visual abilities and the amount of time spent looking at a digital screen. Uncorrected vision problems like farsightedness and astigmatism, insufficient eye focusing or eye coordination abilities, and aging changes of the eyes can all contribute to the development of visual symptoms when using a computer or digital screen device.
What is blue light?
Due to the increasing uses of digital devices, protection from blue light is more important than ever. Blue light is right next to UV light on the spectrum, thus it is high energy wavelengths that can have damaging effects to our eyes over time. Children and post-cataract surgery patients are the most susceptible to the harmful blue light emitted from cell phones, computer monitors, tablets, and other digital screens, which is known to increase the risk of macular degeneration. It also mimics UV light in our brain at night, tricking the brain into thinking it is still day time, which throws off our sleep cycle. It is imperative to protect our eyes with blue light filters, and reducing blue light whenever possible.
How can I prevent CVS?
Many of the visual symptoms experienced by users are only temporary and will decline after stopping computer work or use of the digital device. However, some individuals may experience continued reduced visual abilities, such as blurred distance vision, even after stopping work at a computer. If nothing is done to address the cause of the problem, the symptoms will continue to recur and perhaps worsen with future digital screen use.
Prevention or reduction of the vision problems associated with CVS involves taking steps to control lighting and glare on the device screen, establishing proper working distances and posture for screen viewing, assuring that even minor vision problems are properly corrected, and protecting the eyes from blue light.
How is CVS diagnosed?
CVS can be diagnosed through a comprehensive eye examination. Testing, with special emphasis on visual requirements at the computer or digital device working distance, may include visual acuity measurements to assess the extent to which vision may be affected, a refraction to determine the appropriate lens power needed to compensate for any refractive errors (nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism), and testing how the eyes focus, move and work together.
This testing may be done without the use of eye drops to determine how the eyes respond under normal seeing conditions. In some cases, such as when some of the eyes’ focusing power may be hidden, eye drops may be used. They temporarily keep the eyes from changing focus while testing is done.
Using the information obtained from these tests, along with results of other tests, your New Optix Optometry doctor can determine if you have Computer Vision Syndrome and advise you on treatment options.
How is CVS treated?
Solutions to digital screen-related vision problems are varied. However, they can usually be alleviated by obtaining regular eye care, eyeglasses specifically created for the computer, and making changes in how you view the screen.