Do your eyes feel tired at the end of the work day? Are they sore and dry? Do you experience blurry vision or headaches? These may be symptoms of computer vision syndrome.
Computer vision syndrome is a common temporary syndrome that results from prolonged computer, tablet, or cell phone use.
Symptoms of discomfort may be enhanced if you are working in an area with poor lighting, if you are seeing glare from the screen of a computer or tablet, if you have uncorrected vision problems, or if you have improper posture while sitting.
There is a direct relationship between the amount of time spent on a digital device and level of comfort. The higher the number of hours spent on a computer or tablet, the more uncomfortable your eyes will feel at the end of the day.
Who is most at risk of getting computer vision syndrome?
People who spend more then 2 hrs per day using a computer continuously every single day.
It is very important to have routine eye exams (every 1 to 2 yrs) as if you have uncorrected hyperopia (farsightedness), astigmatism (where the eyeball is shaped like a football instead of a round ball so that when light focusing on the retina it focuses on different spots), or presbyopia (trouble focusing at near, which commonly occurs after the age of 40 as we lose our ability to accommodate up close).
These types of refractive issues can cause eye strain and headaches.
With the proper prescription, symptoms of discomfort and computer vision syndrome can be quickly eliminated. Not only is it important to have the correct prescription, but even more so to have glasses that are meant to be used on the computer.
Quite often your glasses that are used for daily wear are not suitable for the unique demands of a computer. The distance from where your eyes focus on a computer is different from where they focus to look at a book or at distance, so this computer distance must be corrected in a proper lens.
These types of lenses can be in the form of the following lenses:
- progressive lens – which has a prescription for distance, intermediate distance like a computer and reading
- anti-fatigue lens – similar to a progressive lens with less reading power
- computer lens – a lens specifically designed keeping computer distance in mind
Quite often, the eyes are not focusing together or working as a team which can also lead to discomfort while focusing at near on a computer or tablet or cell phone.
Sometimes even doing eye exercises, recommended by your Optometrist, can help with eye teaming, coordination, and focusing. This type of vision therapy can be done in office with an Optometrist and also at home.
Another reason computer vision syndrome can occur is due to a low level of contrast between the letters on the screen you are looking at and the background.
The level of glare and reflections on a computer screen may also make viewing the device uncomfortable for long periods of time. This is where getting a tint or a coating on your glasses may be beneficial.
Finally, your posture and positioning of the computer is vital when it comes to ease and comfort on a digital device. Ideally the computer should be 15 to 20 degrees below eye level and your eyes should be roughly 50-70 cm from the screen.
It is very important to take frequent breaks during computer use. We often tell people about the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes take a 20 second break and look 20 feet away. This will give the eyes a rest and prevent them from over accommodating and getting tired.
We also frequently remind people to blink while on a computer. It is normal to blink 15 times per minute. Quite often we forget to blink while on a computer and our eyes dry out. This can cause blurry vision, and tired burning eyes.
Schedule an eye exam with one of our Optometrists today to find out if you suffer from computer vision syndrome and what we can do to reduce the discomfort.