Computer Vision Syndrome

Computer Vision Syndrome, or Digital Eye Strain, describes a group of vision-related problems that develop from prolonged computer, smartphone, and tablet use. In today’s tech-centric society, many of us spend the majority of our day looking at a screen. Because of this, many individuals are experiencing eye discomfort and vision problems. The severity of discomfort increases with the amount of digital screen use, as you may have guessed. It is estimated that the average American spends seven hours a day on the computer, either in the office or when working from home. Along with the American Optometric Association, First Eye Care is working to educate the general population about the dangers of digital eye strain and how to avoid it. We recommend you follow the 20-20-29 rule: take a 20 second break to look at something 20 feet away every 20 minutes spent on your computer, tablet, or phone.

As if spending so much time on our digital devices wasn’t bad enough, eye strain is often made worse by using these devices in poor lighting conditions. Many people use their phone, computer, or tablet in less-than-ideal environments where screen brightness is either too dim or too bright. Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) affects upwards of 90 percent of computer users, leading to visual disturbances and other uncomfortable symptoms. Most of the optometrists at our many First Eye Care locations have treated patients suffering from CVS at one point or another.

What Are the Symptoms of Digital Eye Strain?

Both adults and children are affected by CVS, resulting in serious damage to the eyes. Some of the most common symptoms of digital eye strain include:
  • Headaches
  • Loss of focus
  • Burning or tired eyes
  • Red eyes
  • Double vision
  • Eye twitching
  • Dry eyes
  • Neck and shoulder pain

In order to protect your vision and make working on a computer more comfortable, we suggest making adjustments to your environment. Some tips include:

  • Make sure your feet can touch the ground and your wrists are slightly above the keyboard when sitting at a desk
  • Adjust the intensity, angle, and position of lighting in order to make looking at the screen more comfortable
  • Use an anti-glare screen, if necessary
  • Make sure your computer sits approximately 4 inches below your eye level
  • If you are looking at other documents while on your computer, have them level with your screen or in between

CVS can be caused by poor light, glare on the computer screen, poor sitting posture, and improper viewing distances. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, schedule an appointment with First Eye Care today. Regular exams, eye exercises, adjusting your environment, using prescription dry eye medication, taking an extended break every couple of hours, and perhaps even special computer eyeglasses can all help reduce the symptoms of CVS.