Findings from the American Optometric Association show that over seventy percent of workers that sit for the majority of the day at a computer (which is over 140 million people) suffer from computer vision syndrome (CVS) or eye fatigue. Prolonged computer use can result in eye strain and impact typical vision development in kids and adults. Anyone that spends over 2 hours each day at computer is at risk of suffering from symptoms of computer vision syndrome.
Signs of Computer Induced Eye Fatigue
Symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome include vision difficulties such as dry eyes, blurriness, lack of focus or double vision and pain such as headaches, back aches and heavy eyes. If you notice any of these symptoms you may be suffering from Computer Vision Syndrome.
Causes of CVS
Computer eye fatigue and computer vision syndrome are caused by the need for our visual processing pathways to compensate for processing text on a digital screen differently than they do for words on a page. While our visual systems have little problem keeping focus on printed content that contains solid black characters with well-defined edges, they are not as adept with characters on a screen that don't have the same level of clarity and sharpness.
Letters on a screen are composed of combinations of tiny dots of light (pixels), which are brightest in the middle and dimmer toward the edges. Therefore it is more difficult for our eyes to maintain focus on this text. Rather, our eyes reduce focus to the ''resting point of accommodation'' or RPA.
Our eyes involuntarily revert to the resting point of accommodation and then have to make a great effort to focus on the images. The constant effort by the muscles of the eyes to focus creates the fatigue and eye strain that commonly appear with extended use of a computer or digital device. Computer vision syndrome isn't just a concern for those who spend a lot of time on computers. Other handheld gadgets such as cell phones or iPads can result in similar symptoms that can be in some cases even worse. Since mobile screens are smaller the user often strains even more to focus on images.
If you think that you might be at risk for computer vision syndrome, you should see an eye care professional as soon as possible.
At an exam, the eye doctor will perform tests to detect any particular vision problems that could worsen symptoms of computer eye strain. Depending on the outcome of the exam, your doctor may suggest ophthalmic computer eyeglasses to help you work more efficiently at your computer . Additionally, you should strongly think about getting an anti-reflective coating for computer eyeglasses. An anti-reflective coating lessens glare that may interfere with your ability to focus on images on your computer.
Alternative Treatments for Computer Vision Syndrome
Ergonomics, or physical changes to your computer workstation to limit strains in vision or posture, can help relieve some physical symptoms of computer related eye strain. Adequate lighting and frequent breaks will cause some relief. Nevertheless, since ergonomics alone cannot resolve a visual problem, using ophthalmic computer glasses is also required.
If you think you are suffering or at risk of CVS, contact our Kenosha, WI optometric practice.