Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) or Digital Eye Strain is an unintended consequence of the hours we all spend daily on tablets, computers, cell phones, and e-readers.
Chances are you're reading this on one such device; chances are good that you've been on that device for a while too.
CVS is not one specific condition but covers a range of problems attributed to computer use. Some studies indicate that as many as 65% of computer users suffer from eyestrain or discomfort, many daily. If you already have vision problems of some kind, you are even more likely to be affected.
CVS is not limited to working adults either. Children use computers daily at school then revert to other devices at home. If you spend two or more hours per day on a computer (as most of us do) you've been forcing your eyes to focus and refocus all day on a screen of ever-changing glare, contrast, and floating images. If your work environment is poorly lit for that task, or you are seated at an improper viewing distance, it is more difficult to work. On top of that, you may be slouching or leaning in towards the computer screen as well. Double trouble there: eyestrain and neck/shoulder pain.
What are the symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome?
- Dry eye
- Blurred vision
- Neck and shoulder pain
- Double vision
- Eye irritation
Your Ophthalmologist can diagnose Computer Vision Syndrome/ Digital Eye Strain by performing a comprehensive eye examination. This examination will include:
- A complete patient history (including a review of your general health, and any symptoms you may be experiencing.)
- Refraction ( a test to determine the presence of any error in the focusing of light in the eye structures)
- Visual Acuity Measurements (to evaluate the extent your vision has been affected)
- Further tests depending upon the findings from those above
- Regular eye exams are crucial to monitor any damage that may be worsening.
- Eyeglasses for computer use may be necessary with special lens designs, tints or coatings.
- Follow the 20-20-20 rule. Glance away from the screen every 20 minutes; focus on an object approximately 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.
- Adjust computer settings. Change the contrast, brightness, and font size as necessary.
- Vision therapy/ vision training may be needed to assist you in correcting the problem. This is a structured program of activities intended to improve your visual ability. These eye exercises help reinforce the eye-brain function and may include both home and office-based procedures.
No one who is suffering from any visual difficulties should assume that it is all a part of 'getting older' or 'just an occupational hazard of working on a computer'. If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, your eyes should be evaluated by an ophthalmologist.