According to the American Optometric Association over seventy percent of employed persons that sit daily at a computer monitor (around 143 million people) suffer the affects of computer vision syndrome or eye strain. Prolonged periods of working at the computer can result in eye fatigue and impact normal vision processes in children as well as adults. If you spend more than two hours on a daily basis at a computer screen you are likely to suffer symptoms of computer related eye fatigue.
Signs of Computer Induced Eye Fatigue
Extended use of the computer can lead to many of the signs of computer induced eye fatigue including:
- Blurry or Double Vision
- Pain in Neck, Shoulders or Head
- Loss of Focus
- Dry, Burning or Tired Eyes
What Are The Causes of Computer Induced Eye Strain?
Eye fatigue from computer use is caused by the need for our eyes and brain to adapt to viewing text on a digital screen differently than they do for printed characters. While our eyes have little problem keeping focus on printed material that has solid black font with clear borders, they are less familiar with texts on a digital screen that don't have the same level of clarity and definition.
Letters on a digital screen are formed by combinations of tiny points of light (pixels), which are brightest at the center and dimmer as they move outward. This makes it more difficult for our eyes to maintain focus on these letters. Rather, our eyes prefer to revert to a lower level of focusing called the ''resting point of accommodation'' or RPA.
Our eyes involuntarily move to the resting point of accommodation and then strain to regain focus on the text. The continual flexing of the eyes' focusing muscles results in the symptoms listed above that often appear with extended use of a computer or digital device. 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 digital gadgets such as smart phones or iPads can cause similar strain and in some cases more severe. Since the screens on handheld digital devices are smaller the user often struggles even more to focus on images.
Computer vision syndrome can negatively affect your productivity so if you are suffering from these symptoms it is worthwhile to make an appointment with an optometrist sooner than later.
At an exam, your eye care professional will check to see if you have any vision problems that might worsen symptoms of computer eye strain. Depending on the results of these tests, your practicioner may recommend prescription computer eyeglasses to help you work more efficiently at your computer screen. An anti-reflective coating is highly recommended for computer eyeglasses. Such a coating eliminates glare that may affect your ability to focus on images on your screen.
Ergonomics for Computer Vision Syndrome
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 minimize some physical symptoms of CVS. Adequate lighting and frequent breaks will cause some relief. Nevertheless, since ergonomics alone cannot resolve problems with vision, wearing prescription computer eyeglasses is also required.
If you would like to consult with a professional eye doctor to speak about the risks and treatments for CVS, contact our Plymouth, MI optometric office.