What Is Computer Vision Syndrome and Can It Be Treated?

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As people are becoming more and more dependent on their cell phones, e-readers, and tablets, we've noticed an increase in complaints about computer vision syndrome (CVS). Let's take a moment to go over the basics of this problem.

About Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS)

Also known as digital eye strain, computer vision syndrome (CVS) refers various eye and vision problems that are caused by looking at a computer monitor, television, tablet, e-reader, or smart phone for a prolonged amount of time.

While CVS will not result in serious harm to the eye per se, it can lead to discomfort and eye fatigue, which can make normal tasks difficult.

Signs and Symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS)

The most common signs and symptoms of computer vision syndrome are as follows:

  • Eyestrain/eye fatigue
  • Blurry or hazy vision
  • Headaches
  • Neck pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Dry eye syndrome

A combination of the above symptoms is not uncommon.

Causes of Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS)

Computer vision syndrome is the result of staring at screens for a long time. Eyes typically have to work harder in order to view a monitor or screen compared to the natural world. That said, there are certain conditions that can make CVS far worse:

  • Low light or poor lightning
  • Glare on the screen being viewed
  • Improper distance between the screen and the viewer
  • Bad posture while sitting and looking at a monitor/screen
  • General vision problems independent of the monitor/screen (e.g., astigmatism, farsightedness)

As with symptoms, a combination of the above causes are not uncommon.

Treating Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS)

When treating computer vision syndrome, one of the most important approaches involves updating any prescriptions for glasses or contact lenses. By addressing refractive errors and other vision problems that are separate from computer vision syndrome, we can reduce the severity of symptoms should a person experience CVS.

In addition, it's important to consider the ergonomics and overall set-up of the person's monitors. If CVS is common at the workplace, patients should consider their chair and its position relative to their monitor. Ideally a person will want to have the monitor 20 to 28 inches away from their eyes, and roughly 15 to 20 degrees lower than eye level. Anti-glare screens can be especially helpful in many cases.

Some patients may want to consider anti-glare and anti-reflective (AR) glasses, aka computer glasses. Computer glasses have a special lens tint and coating that helps prevent significant eyestrain.

20-20-20 Rule: Dealing with Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS)

One great way to avoid problems with computer vision syndrome is to follow the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, take 20 seconds to look away from the monitor and focus on an object about 20 feet away. This helps limit the amount of eyestrain you experience, and it can make a major difference if you spend many hours looking at monitors on a daily basis.

Contact Primary Eye Care Associates

To learn more about treating various kinds of vision problems and eye conditions, be sure to contact our advanced eye care treatment center today. Our team will help you see clearly again and experience renewed wellness and enhanced vision.