The American Optometric Association (AOA) reports that over seven out of 10 of workers that sit daily on a computer (over 140 million ) suffer the affects of computer vision syndrome or eye strain. Excessive periods of working in front of the computer can cause eye stress and effect typical vision processes in kids and adults. If you spend more than two hours daily sitting at a computer it is likely that you will suffer some level of computer vision syndrome.
Effects of Computer Vision Syndrome
Signs of Computer Vision Syndrome include vision difficulties such as dry eyes, blurred vision, inability to focus or double vision and pain such as headaches, neck pain and tired eyes. If you notice a number of these symptoms you may have Computer Vision Syndrome.
What Are The Causes of Computer Induced Eye Strain?
Eye strain from prolonged computer use results from the need for our visual systems to compensate for viewing characters on a digital screen differently than they do for printed characters. While our eyes have little problem focusing on printed material that has dense black font with sharp edges, they are less familiar with characters on a computer screen that don't have the same level of contrast and definition.
Characters on a screen are formed by combinations of tiny points of light (pixels), which are brightest in the middle and dimmer as they move outward. Therefore it is more difficult for our visual processing center to focus on on these characters. Rather, our eyes are inclined to drift to a less strained level of focusing called the ''resting point of accommodation'' or RPA.
Through involuntary movements, our eyes revert to the RPA 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 with extended use of a computer or digital device. CVS isn't a matter of concern just for those who spend a lot of time on computers. It's important to note that other electronic gadgets such as cell phones or iPads can cause the same symptoms and in some cases more severe. Since the screens on handheld digital devices are often small in addition to pixilated the eyes have to put even more effort into focusing on the images.
Treatment for Computer Vision Syndrome and Eye Strain
If you think that you might be at risk for computer induced eye fatigue, you should consult an optometrist sooner than later.
At an exam, your eye doctor will perform tests to detect any particular vision issues that might worsen symptoms of computer eye strain. Depending on the results of the exam, your practicioner may suggest prescription computer eyeglasses to reduce discomfort at your computer screen. You should think about getting an anti-reflective coating for computer eyeglasses. An anti-reflective coating reduces reflections on the front and back surfaces of the lenses that cause glare and affect your ability to focus on images on your screen.
Ergonomics for Computer Vision Syndrome
Ergonomics, or changing your computer workstation to limit the need for your eyes and your body to accommodate in unhealthy ways, can help reduce some physical symptoms of computer vision syndrome. Adequate lighting and frequent breaks will help to some extent. Nevertheless, very often computer eyeglasses are also required to fully eliminate CVS.
If you think you are suffering or at risk of computer related eye strain, contact our Philadelphia, PA optometry office.