The benefits of modern-day computing and the Internet have led to a group of eye and vision-related problems. Collectively, this group is called Computer Vision Syndrome or CVS. CVS is caused by spending an extended amount of time looking at computer screens and other digital devices.
Between work and home computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones, it's easy to log a lot of hours staring at a screen. (We've certainly experienced it ourselves!)
Looking at a computer screen is different from reading printed pages, and often makes your eyes work harder. For example, screen glare and reflections, low contrast, and poor definition make text difficult to read on a digital display. The way we interact with digital displays, software and Internet pages is also different from "traditional" paper-based reading and writing. And uncorrected vision problems and age-related vision changes can also be contributing factors for CVS.
Symptoms of CVS
Common symptoms that can begin or become worse due to CVS include:
- Blurred vision
- Dry and irritated eyes
- Neck and shoulder pain
When patients describe these symptoms, we use a comprehensive exam to check for visual clarity, focus, alignment, and movement issues.
Treatment and Preventive Measures for CVS
Reducing the stresses that build up with prolonged computer and digital device use is key to treating CVS. A combination of treatment and preventative measures can help protect and improve your eyesight. For example:
Find your sweet spot. Our eyes naturally look out and downward. To accommodate this, position your computer monitor so the center of your screen is a few inches below eye level, and 20 to 28 inches from your eyes.
Adjust your lighting. Give yourself ample lighting, but position your digital screen and your light sources to avoid glare.
Use anti-glare screens. When you have little or no control over your surrounding light, use an anti-glare filter over your computer screen. If glare is a problem at work, ask your employer to supply an anti-glare filter for your computer.
Take breaks and blink frequently. Allow your eyes to refocus at a distance and relax by looking around the room every 20 minutes. To prevent eyestrain, rest your eyes for 15 minutes every two hours. And be sure to blink! It helps keep your eyes moist and reduces your chances for developing dry eyes.
Your eyes work hard for you. Give them the rest and support they need to stay healthy. And if you're concerned about CVS for yourself or a loved one, please call us to schedule an appointment. We're here to help!
Adapted with permission from: Computer Vision: A New Problem for a New Age, CooperVision.com.
Additional source: Computer Vision Syndrome, American Optometric Association.