According to the American Optometric Association more than seven out of 10 of the American citizens that sit for the majority of the day at a computer screen (over 140 million ) suffer the affects of computer vision syndrome (CVS) or eye fatigue. Prolonged computer use can result in eye stress and impact eyesight in children as well as adults. Anyone that works over 2 hours a day at computer is at risk of some degree of computer related eye fatigue.
Effects of Computer Induced Eye Fatigue
Signs of Computer Vision Syndrome include vision difficulties such as dry eyes, blurriness, lack of focus or double vision and muscular pain such as headaches, back pain and tired eyes. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms you may be suffering from Computer Vision Syndrome.
What Are The Causes of Computer Induced Eye Strain?
Eye fatigue from computer use results from the need for our visual processing pathways to compensate for viewing words on a computer screen in a different way than they do for printed letters. While our eyes have little problem focusing on printed material that contains solid black font with clear edges, they have more difficulty with characters on a digital screen that don't have the same degree of clarity and definition.
Letters on a digital screen are created by pixels, which are brightest in the middle and dimmer toward the edges. This makes it harder for our eyes to focus on on these characters. Instead, our eyes are inclined to drift to a less strained level of focusing called the ''resting point of accommodation'' or RPA.
Through involuntary movements, our eyes adjust to the RPA and then have to make a great effort to focus on the images. This continuous effort by the eye muscles to focus creates the fatigue and eye strain that often appear during and after computer use. Computer vision syndrome isn't just an issue for those who spend a lot of time on computers. Other electronic gadgets such as mobile phones or iPads can result in the same symptoms and in some cases more severe. Since mobile screens are often small the user often strains even more to read text.
If you are at risk for computer induced eye fatigue, you should make an appointment with an eye doctor sooner than later.
During a computer vision exam, the optometrist will perform tests to detect any particular vision issues that could contribute to symptoms of computer eye strain. According to the results of these tests, your practicioner may suggest prescription computer glasses to reduce discomfort at your screen. You should strongly think about getting an anti-reflective coating for computer glasses. An anti-reflective coating eliminates reflections on the front and back surfaces of the lenses that cause glare and interfere with your ability to focus on images on your screen.
Ergonomics for CVS
Ergonomics, or physical changes to your workstation to limit the need for your eyes and your body to accommodate in unhealthy ways, can help reduce some of the discomfort of computer related eye strain. A well lit work area and frequent breaks will cause some relief. However, very often computer eyeglasses are also required to fully eliminate CVS.
If you would like to speak to a professional eye doctor to discuss the risks and treatments for computer related eye strain, contact our Fairfax, VA optometric practice.