Computer Vision Syndrome

For people who spend hours each day working in front of a computer, CVS, or computer vision syndrome, is a real problem. Computer vision syndrome describes a group of vision problems and eye health issues that are caused by prolonged computer use. Some of the symptoms experienced by people who work with computers are temporary; however, if nothing is done to address the underlying cause of the eyestrain the symptoms will continue to occur.

What is computer vision syndrome?

Millions of Americans work on computers every day. Many of these individuals experience eyestrain, discomfort, and vision problems when viewing a computer monitor for hours at a time. Computer vision syndrome refers to any eye or vision conditions that are caused by frequent use of a computer.

Symptoms of computer vision syndrome

The symptoms associated with computer vision syndrome will vary depending on a person's quality of vision and the amount of time they spend in front of a computer. Here are just a few of the symptoms associated with computer vision syndrome: 

  • Blurred vision 
  • Dry eyes 
  • Headaches 
  • Neck pain 
  • Shoulder pain 
  • Watery eyes 
  • Burning eyes 
  • Double vision 
  • Eye twitching 
  • Loss of focus

Causes of computer vision syndrome

Viewing content on a computer screen is far different from reading printed material. There is less contrast, more glare, and more reflections that can distort images. Spending hours in front of a computer trying to decipher images and print makes the eyes work much harder. The constant flexing of the eye's muscles to focus on the screen results in eyestrain and fatigue.

Vision problems caused by prolonged use of a computer can also be exacerbated by the following: 

  • Glare on the screen 
  • Poor lighting 
  • Improper viewing distance from the monitor 
  • Bad posture 
  • Uncorrected visual error

Treatment of computer vision syndrome

An eye care professional can help to reduce the symptoms associated with computer vision syndrome. Some people can benefit from eyeglasses specifically designed for computer use. Also, individuals who are nearsighted, farsighted, or astigmatic may need to update their lens prescription to meet the demands of computer viewing.

For many people, simply ceasing prolonged use of the computer is not an option. In such cases, it is best to alter the way the computer is positioned and how it is used. Good lighting conditions, proper chair positioning, proper monitor positioning, and periodic rest breaks can all go a long way toward easing the symptoms associated with computer vision syndrome.

If you spend long periods of time in front of the computer and notice symptoms of CVS, visit your eye care professional to find out if computer lenses can help you.


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