What is Computer Vision Syndrome?

The American Optometric Association (AOA) has designated the month of March as "Save Your Vision" month. It is a perfect time to focus on an exceedingly common condition known as Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) since 82% of Americans work with a computer or hand held device every day.

So what is Computer Vision Syndrome? It is a group of eye and vision-related problems that result from prolonged computer use. Many individuals experience eye discomfort and vision problems when viewing a computer screen for extended periods, and the level of discomfort appears to increase with the amount of computer use. The most common symptoms of "CVS" are headaches, fatigue, dry eyes and blurred vision. The symptoms are made worse with poor lighting, glare, uncorrected vision problems, poor seating posture and work distance from your computer screen. The visual symptoms are the main reason why "CVS" is one of the top health complaints in the workplace.

So what can be done to alleviate "CVS?" First, a yearly eye health examination is critical to correct any refractive problems such as farsightedness, astigmatism and presbyopia. All of these contribute to problems with focusing at near distances. At your annual visit, your eye Doctor also assesses eye coordination abilities and aging of the eyes, which can lead to increased visual problems when using a computer. Also, your eye Doctor can suggest the correct distance for your computer screen and prescribe eyewear, or "computer glasses," specific for that viewing distance. Ensuring that the lenses block ultraviolet light (UV) and have an anti-reflection treatment will also help considerably reduce glare from the computer screen and overhead lighting.

In some cases, people who do not normally wear eyeglasses may benefit from glasses prescribed specifically for computer use. In addition, those already wearing glasses may find their current prescription does not provide optimal vision for viewing a computer.

Also, limiting the duration of computer use helps minimize "CVS" as well. Apply the "20/20" rule - look away from the computer every 20 minutes for 20 seconds - as this will minimize focusing problems and eye irritation caused by infrequent blinking. Blinking helps keep the front surface of the eye moist, which improves ocular comfort.

Computer Vision Syndrome will affect each of us in different ways. Having an annual eye health exam will help in the prevention and diagnosis of "CVS." Rest assured Visionworks is committed to help promote healthy vision and provide solutions for you. Visionworks affiliated eye Doctors can assess whether you have Computer Vision Syndrome and advise you on treatment options.

Nothing on this web site is intended, nor should it be construed, as professional advice. Those reviewing the information should consult with a qualified professional.