The American Optometric Association states that over 70 percent of workers that work for the majority of the day at a computer (around 143 million people) experience computer vision syndrome or eye strain. Excessive periods of working in front of the computer can result in eye strain and impact eyesight in kids as well as adults. Anyone that sits more than two hours on a daily basis on the computer is at risk of suffering from some degree of computer related eye fatigue.
Effects of Computer Induced Eye Fatigue
Symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome include vision difficulties such as dry eyes, blurriness, inability to focus or double vision and muscular pain such as headaches, neck aches and heavy eyes. If you notice a number of these symptoms you may be suffering from CVS.
What Causes CVS?
Eye strain from excessive computer use is caused by the need for our visual systems to compensate for viewing characters on a digital screen differently than they do for printed characters. Although our visual systems are used to focusing on printed material that has dense black font with clear borders, they are not as adept with characters on a screen that lack the same degree of contrast and sharpness.
Words on a computer screen are created 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 this text. Instead, our eyes feel more comfortable at the ''resting point of accommodation'' or RPA.
Our eyes involuntarily adjust to the RPA and then strain to regain focus on the text. The constant effort by the eye muscles to focus creates the fatigue and eye strain that commonly appear with extended use of a computer or digital device. CVS isn't a concern just for those who spend a lot of time on computers. Other handheld devices such as mobile phones or tablets can cause the same eye fatigue and in some cases even worse. Since the screens on handheld digital devices are smaller the eyes have to put even more exertion into focusing on the images.
Remedies for CVS and Eye Strain
If you are at risk for computer induced eye strain, you should make an appointment with an optometrist sooner than later.
At an exam, the optometrist will check to see if you have any vision problems that might contribute to CVS. According to the outcome of these tests, your optometrist may recommend ophthalmic computer eyeglasses to help you work more efficiently at your screen. You should think about getting an anti-reflective coating for computer glasses. An anti-reflective coating lessens reflections on the front and back surfaces of the lenses that cause glare and affect your ability to focus on images on your screen.
Alternative Treatments for CVS
Visual Ergonomics, or changing your workstation to limit strains in vision or posture, can help minimize some physical symptoms of computer related eye strain. Proper lighting and taking periodic breaks from staring at the screen will cause some relief. However, 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 Bronx, NY optometric office.