The American Optometric Association announced that over 70 percent of the Americans that sit every day at a computer monitor (around 143 million individuals) experience computer vision syndrome or eye fatigue. Excessive periods of working at the computer can result in eye fatigue and effect normal vision development in children and adults. If you are sitting at a computer monitor for more than two hours on a daily basis it is probable that you will experience some degree of computer related eye fatigue.
Signs of CVS
Signs of CVS include vision problems such as dry eyes, blurriness, inability to focus or double vision and pain such as headaches, neck pain and heavy eyes. If you notice a number of these symptoms you may be suffering from Computer Vision Syndrome.
Causes of Computer Vision Syndrome
Eye fatigue from prolonged computer use is caused by the need for our eyes and brain to adapt to processing letters on a computer screen differently than they do for printed words. Although our eyes are used to keeping focus on printed content that has dense black letters with distinct edges, they have more difficulty with characters on a digital screen that don't have the same level of contrast and definition.
Letters on a screen are formed by combinations of tiny points of light (pixels), which are brightest at the middle and dimmer as they move outward. Therefore it is more difficult for our eyes to maintain focus on these images. Rather, our eyes reduce focus to the ''resting point of accommodation'' or RPA.
Our eyes involuntarily adjust to the resting point of accommodation and then have to make a great effort to regain focus on the text. This continuous strain on the muscles of the eyes to focus creates the fatigue and eye strain that sometimes occur during and after use of a computer or digital device. CVS isn't just an issue for those who spend a lot of time on computers. Other electronic gadgets such as mobile phones or tablets can result in the same strain that can be in some cases more severe. Because mobile screens are often small the user often strains even more to read images.
If you think that you might be at risk for CVS, you should make an appointment with an optometrist sooner than later.
At a computer vision exam, the eye doctor will check to see if you have any vision problems that could worsen CVS. According to the outcome of these tests, your practicioner may recommend ophthalmic computer glasses to help you work more comfortably at your computer . Additionally, you should consider an anti-reflective coating for computer glasses. An anti-reflective coating reduces reflections on the front and back surfaces of the lenses that cause glare and interfere with your ability to see images clearly on your screen.
Ergonomics for CVS
Ergonomics, or changing your work environment to reduce strains in vision or posture, can help reduce some of the discomfort of computer vision syndrome. Sufficient lighting and taking periodic breaks from staring at the screen can cause some relief. However, since ergonomics alone cannot solve problems with vision, wearing ophthalmic computer eyeglasses is also required.
If you would like to speak to a professional eye care professional to find out more about the risks and symptoms for computer related eye strain, contact our San Jose, CA optometric office.