Computer Vision Syndrome
What Is It?
Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) is a collection of eye problems that arise from the unmitigated use of electronic screens (computers, tablets, phones). Since viewing electronic screens is unnatural for us and our eyes, it puts uncharacteristic stress and demands on our vision, and overtime this stress builds up in the form of Computer Vision Syndrome.
While symptoms can vary for each individual, they generally include eye strain, blurred vision, eye dryness and irritation, headaches, tearing up, double vision, and ocular pain.
Computer Vision Syndrome can be reduced or even resolved by simply giving your eyes the best possible viewing experience while using electronic devices (so that they don’t need to strain). Eyes that don’t need to strain will result in an overall comfortable viewing experience while also stopping the bad effects (like constant headaches) from creeping up and building over time. But how do we achieve this comfortable, non-strained vision?
Visit your optometrist or optician and let them know about your digital viewing habits. They will advise you on proper posture, viewing distance, viewing habits, and possibly even recommend special computer-task lens designs or coatings. Combined, these will help return your vision to a more natural and relaxed state.
Components of treatment include:
- Reposition your computer screen (proper distance AND proper viewing angle)
- Keep the room’s ambiant lighting similar in brightness to your screen
- Reduce glare (caused by the angle between your monitor and windows)
- 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes take a 20-second break and stare at something 20 feet away
- Blink fully and often (because staring at screens reducing your blink rate by 67%!)
- Consider an anti-reflection coating (because harsh glares cause eye strain)
- Consider a new lens design (certain lenses are designed specifically for computer use)
- Consider a blue-light filter (to reduce the amount of high-energy blue light entering the eye)
The Take-home Message
Computer Vision Syndrome is not only reversible, it is also completely avoidable, often requiring nothing more than adjusting your viewing settings and developing a few good habits (like taking breaks). If long periods of computer usage is required and you’re noticing the effects of CVS creeping up, then you may wish to take advantage of new lens technologies and coatings to return your vision to a more relaxed state.