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Computer Vision Syndrome

computer eye strain

Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) also known as Digital Eye Strain is a vision-related condition caused by prolonged computer, tablet, e-reader and cell phone use. Individuals spending two or more continuous hours at a computer or digital device every day are at a greater risk of experiencing eye discomfort and a variety of other vision problems. Factors such as farsightedness and astigmatisms, inadequate eye coordination abilities, and presbyopia can all affect the severity of developing visual symptoms when using an electronic display. Although most symptoms are temporary, there are ways to reduce the amount of strain on the eyes.  To learn more about the symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome, how it can affect you, and what you can do to minimize the effects, continue reading below.

Table of Contents:

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  1. What are the symptoms of CVS?
  2. What causes Computer Vision Syndrome or Digital Eye Strain?
  3. How can I prevent or reduce the symptoms of CVS?

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What are the most common symptoms of CVS?

The average American worker spends seven hours a day on the computer either in the office or working from home. Many of these workers will experience symptoms related to CVS. Some symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome or Digital Eye Strain include:

  • eyestrain
  • headaches
  • blurred vision
  • dry eyes
  • neck and shoulder pain

These symptoms may be caused by:

  • poor lighting
  • glare on a digital screen
  • improper viewing distances
  • poor seating posture
  • uncorrected vision problems
  • a combination of these factors

Many of these symptoms are temporary and will decline after stopping computer work or use of the digital device. However, in some cases, some symptoms such as blurred distance vision may continue even after stopping work at a computer. If precautions are not taken to address the cause of CVS, the symptoms will only continue to recur and may even worsen over time.

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What causes Computer Vision Syndrome or Digital Eye Strain?

Patients with uncorrected or under corrected vision problems can be major contributing factors to computer-related eye strain. Even minor vision problems can be significantly affected by Computer Vision Syndrome, which is why it is important to have regular eye exams. Viewing digital screens is one of the main causes of Computer Vision Syndrome . The letters on the screen are not precise and sharp, the screen contrast between the text and background is reduced and the presence of glare and reflections on the screen makes viewing difficult. Other factors that cause Computer Vision Syndrome include viewing distance and angles of the computer screen. Poor posture can result in neck, back and shoulder pain or spasms. A patient’s glasses or contacts with prescriptions not suitable for the specific viewing distances can also cause additional stress on the eyes.

sore eyes from computer screen example

How can I prevent or reduce the symptoms of CVS?

There are many ways you can prevent or reduce the symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome when working in front of a computer or digital device.

  1. Visit your local eye care provider for regular eye exams. Your local eye doctor may be able to prescribe specific lenses to meet your visual demands including special lens designs, powers, tints and even coatings.
  2. Vision therapy or eye exercises to help remediate deficiencies in eye movement, eye focusing and eye teaming and reinforce the eye-brain connection.
  3. Practice using the 20-20-20 rule to help alleviate digital eye strain. Take a 20-second break to view something 20 feet away every 20 minutes.
  4. Your screen location or device should be 20-28 inches from the eyes and roughly 15-20 degrees below eye level. This tends to be the most comfortable viewing setup.
  5. Position your reference documents in a location that minimizes the amount of head and eye movement. Ideal locations are above the keyboard, below the monitor or place beside the monitor using a document holder.
  6. Adjust your lighting. Avoid areas with overhead lights or windows. Instead, use blinds to minimize the outside light and use low wattage light bulbs in desk lamps. These adjustments reduce the amount of glare on the screen and provide optimal viewing.
  7. Use anti glare screen filters on screens and monitors to minimize the amount of glare from lights and windows.
  8. Adjust your seat and seating position to a comfortable height. Your feet should rest flat on the ground. Are rests should be set at a comfortable height and wrists should not rest on the keyboard when typing.
  9. Take rest breaks to avoid eye strain. Use the 20-20-20 rule and take a 15 minute break to rest your eyes after two hours of continuous exposure to a digital screen.
  10. Don’t forget to blink! Blinking frequently helps to keep the front of your eye moist and minimizes the chances of experiencing dry eyes when using a computer.

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Visit Louisiana Eye & Laser

Don’t let digital eye strain keep you from being productive! Come visit the eye care experts at Louisiana Eye & Laser to meet with an eye specialist on ways to prevent digital eye strain. With 14 convenient locations across the state, there’s no reason to look any further for an eye doctor who can help you with ways to reduce the development of the symptoms associated with Computer Vision Syndrome. Whether you are experiencing Computer Vision Syndrome symptoms or just need a regular eye exam, we’re here to help. Just give us a call, schedule online or drop by one of our offices today!