The American Optometric Association states that more than seven out of 10 of workers that work daily on a computer monitor (close to 143 million ) suffer from computer vision syndrome or eye fatigue. Prolonged periods of sitting at the computer can result in eye fatigue and impact eyesight in kids as well as adults. Anyone that sits over two hours on a daily basis in front of computer is at risk of suffering from symptoms of computer related eye fatigue.
Symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome
Signs of CVS include vision difficulties such as dry eyes, blurriness, inability to focus or double vision and muscular discomfort such as headaches, neck aches and tired eyes. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms you may be suffering from Computer Vision Syndrome.
What Causes Computer Induced Eye Fatigue?
Computer eye strain and CVS are caused by the need for our visual processing pathways to compensate for processing letters on a digital screen in a different way than they do for words on a page. While our visual systems have little problem keeping focus on printed content that has solid black characters with distinct edges, they are less familiar with texts on a computer screen that lack the same level of clarity and sharpness.
Words on a digital screen are formed by combinations of tiny dots of light (pixels), which are brightest at the center and dimmer as they move outward. Therefore it is more difficult for our eyes to maintain focus on these letters. Instead, our eyes feel more comfortable at the ''resting point of accommodation'' or RPA.
Our eyes involuntarily move to the RPA and then strain to regain focus on the text. The constant flexing of the eyes' focusing muscles creates the symptoms listed above that commonly occur during and after computer use. Computer vision syndrome isn't just an issue for those who spend a lot of time on computers. It's important to note that other handheld devices such as mobile phones or iPads can cause the same strain and in some cases be even worse. Because the screens on handheld digital devices are smaller the user often struggles even more to read images.
Remedies for CVS and Eye Fatigue
CVS can be extremely uncomfortable so if you are experiencing these symptoms it is worthwhile to make an appointment with an optometrist sooner than later.
At a computer vision exam, the optometrist will perform tests to detect any vision issues that might contribute to symptoms of computer eye strain. Depending on the outcome of these tests, your doctor may suggest prescription computer glasses to reduce discomfort at your computer screen. You should strongly think about getting an anti-reflective coating for computer glasses. An anti-reflective coating eliminates glare that may affect your ability to see images clearly on your screen.
Ergonomics for CVS
Visual Ergonomics, or setting up your work environment to limit the need for your eyes and your body to accommodate in unhealthy ways, can help relieve some physical symptoms of computer related eye strain. Sufficient lighting and frequent breaks will cause some relief. However, since ergonomics alone cannot resolve a visual problem, using prescription computer eyeglasses is also a must.
If you think you are suffering or at risk of computer vision syndrome, contact our Squamish or West Vancouver, BC optometry office.