According to the American Optometric Association (AOA) more than seven out of 10 of employed persons that work for the majority of the day on a computer (over 140 million ) experience computer vision syndrome (CVS) or eye fatigue. Prolonged computer use can result in eye stress and effect normal vision processes in kids as well as adults. If you spend more than two hours daily sitting at a computer you are likely to experience some form of computer related eye fatigue.
Effects of Computer Vision Syndrome
Lengthy use of the computer can cause many of the symptoms of computer induced eye fatigue for instance:
- Loss of Focus
- Burning Eyes
- Dry, Tired Eyes
- Double Vision
- Blurred Vision
- Neck and Shoulder Pain
What Causes CVS?
Eye strain from excessive computer use results from the need for our visual systems to adapt to processing text on a computer screen in a different way than they do for printed characters. Although our eyes have little problem keeping focus on printed material that has solid black characters with distinct borders, they have more difficulty with characters on a screen that lack the same degree of contrast and sharpness.
Characters on a screen are created by pixels, which are most luminous at the center and diminish in intensity toward the edges. Consequently, it is harder for our visual processing center to maintain focus on these characters. Rather, our eyes feel more comfortable at the ''resting point of accommodation'' or RPA.
Through involuntary movements, our eyes move to the resting point of accommodation and then strain to regain focus on the screen. Such continuous strain on the muscles of the eyes to focus results in the fatigue and eye strain that commonly occur with extended computer use. Computer vision syndrome isn't only a concern for those who spend a lot of time on computers. It's important to note that other electronic gadgets such as mobile phones or tablets can result in similar conditions and in some cases more severe. Because the screens on handheld digital devices are smaller in addition to pixilated the user often struggles even more to stay focused on images.
Treating Computer Vision Syndrome and Eye Fatigue
Computer vision syndrome can negatively affect your productivity so if you are experiencing discomfort it is worthwhile to consult an eye doctor as soon as possible.
During a computer vision exam, your eye doctor will check to see if you have any vision problems that could worsen computer vision syndrome. Depending on the outcome of the exam, your optometrist may recommend ophthalmic computer eyeglasses to reduce discomfort at your computer screen. An anti-reflective coating is highly recommended for computer eyeglasses. An anti-reflective coating eliminates reflections on the front and back surfaces of the lenses that cause glare and affect your ability to see images clearly on your computer.
Ergonomics for Computer Vision Syndrome
Visual Ergonomics, or changing your computer work environment to limit strains in vision or posture, can help minimize some of the discomfort of CVS. A well lit work area and frequent breaks will help to some extent. Nevertheless, since ergonomics alone cannot resolve problems with vision, using prescription computer glasses is also required.
If you think you are suffering or at risk of computer related eye strain, contact our Calgary, AB optometry practice.