Findings from the American Optometric Association indicate that over seven out of 10 of workers that sit each day at a computer (which is over 140 million ) experience computer vision syndrome or eye fatigue. Excessive periods of working at the computer can cause eye stress and impact eyesight in kids and adults. If you sit at a computer longer than 2 hours on a daily basis you are likely to experience symptoms of CVS.
Symptoms of Computer Eye Strain
Symptoms of CVS include vision difficulties such as dry eyes, blurriness, inability to focus or double vision and muscular pain such as headaches, back aches and heavy eyes. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms you may be suffering from CVS.
Causes of CVS
Computer eye strain and CVS are caused by the necessity for our visual systems to adapt to processing words on a computer screen differently than they do for words on a page. While our eyes are used to keeping focus on printed material that contains dense black letters with well-defined borders, they are not as adept with texts on a screen that don't have the same amount of contrast and definition.
Characters on a screen are composed of combinations of tiny points of light (pixels), which are most luminous at the center and dimmer as they move outward. Therefore it is harder for our eyes to focus on on these images. Instead, our eyes are inclined to revert to a less strained level of focusing called the ''resting point of accommodation'' or RPA.
Our eyes involuntarily revert to the RPA and then have to make a great effort to focus on the images. Such continual flexing of the eyes' focusing muscles creates the fatigue and eye strain that sometimes occur with extended computer use. Computer vision syndrome isn't a concern just for those who spend a lot of time on computers. Other handheld devices such as cell phones or iPads can result in the same symptoms and in some cases more severe. Because the screens on handheld digital devices are smaller in addition to pixilated the eyes have to work harder toward reading the images.
Treatment for Computer Vision Syndrome and Eye Fatigue
If you think that you might be at risk for computer vision syndrome, you should see an eye doctor sooner than later.
During an exam, your optometrist will check to see if you have any vision issues that could contribute to computer vision syndrome. Depending on the results of these tests, your optometrist may prescribe prescription computer glasses to help you work more comfortably 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.
Alternative Treatments for CVS
Ergonomics, or physical changes to your computer workstation to limit strains in vision or posture, can help relieve some of the discomfort of computer related eye strain. Adequate lighting and taking periodic breaks from staring at the screen will help to some extent. Nevertheless, since ergonomics alone cannot resolve problems with vision, using ophthalmic computer eyeglasses is also required.
If you would like to consult with a professional eye care professional to speak about the signs and treatments for CVS, contact our Austin, TX optometry office.