Computer Vision Strain

Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) is a temporary condition of the eyes that is a result of focusing the eyes on a computer display for long and uninterrupted periods of time.

You may be suffering from Computer Vision Syndrome and not know it.  I know I have had some of the symptoms but shook them off as a mild annoyance.

Reading from a computer screen is different from reading a printed page.  The letters on the computer screen are not as sharply defined, the level of contrast of the letters to their background is reduced, and glare and reflections on the screen can make viewing difficult.  The eyes have a very hard time focusing on the pixel characters.  That means that our eyes have to work very hard to focus and move.  Those of us who spend two or more continuous hours a day at a computer screen are at risk of developing CVS.

Symptoms include dry eyes, headaches, blurred vision especially right after getting up from the computer, neck pain, eye redness, eye strain, irritated eyes, double vision and difficulty refocusing the eyes. Most of these symptoms are temporary and will disappear after stopping work at the computer.

If you think you may have CVS, get a thorough eye exam.  CVS treatments include

  • Over-the-counter artificial tear solution
  • Using glare screen filters and proper lighting when at the computer
  • Taking 10-15 minute breaks every hour to relieve eyestrain
  • Make sure you are blinking to keep eyes moistened
  • Proper computer placement – place computer directly in front of you, about 20-26” away and about 4” below your eye level
  • Using a new type of glasses specifically for computer use that can eliminate symptoms and improve comfort when working at the computer. One brand that has been recommended to us is Gunnar.  They cost from $80 – $190 a pair so don’t lose them!

Wondering about your new iPad? Those can cause CVS as well.   Apple’s announcement of a new “retina display” with higher resolution for its newest iPad has ophthalmologists hoping for reduced eye strain.

To read CBS News’ article on iPads and CVS go to www.cbsnews.com.