Squinting at computer, tablet, or mobile screens for hours at a time is a normal part of our lives in the 21st century. Unfortunately, eye problems associated with this activity are also on the rise. Even if you have never had eye problems before, you may have noticed computer vision syndrome symptoms after two or more hours of screen time.
Signs include: Blurry vision
Eye strain and discomfort
Dry, scratchy eyes
Neck and/or shoulder pain
Even if your symptoms are mild, they can worsen and cause other vision problems if not addressed. Our optometrist, Dr. Thomas, can help.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Computer Vision Syndrome
The severity and length of computer vision syndrome symptoms depends on how long you stare at the computer, your posture, lighting, glare, the angle of the monitor, and whether or not you have other diagnosed or undiagnosed vision problems. If you already suffer from astigmatism, farsightedness, presbyopia, aging eyes, and/or diabetic eye problems, your computer vision symptoms may worsen. This can even be the case if you already have prescription contacts or glasses. Many regular eyeglasses and contact lenses are not designed to deflect the problems caused by computer screens.
Dr. Thomas will take your symptoms, pre-existing conditions, and potential undiagnosed conditions into account as he performs the following eye tests:
- Visual acuity—Measures the quality of your current vision.
- Refraction—Tests the potential lens prescriptions that would optimize your vision.
- Focus and Eye Coordination—Tests how well your eyes work together and how quickly and accurately your eyes are able to focus on objects and varying distances.
From these measurements, Dr. Thomas can design a treatment plan to help relieve your symptoms. For people with otherwise normal eyes and vision, a set of specially-designed glasses used during the time you are working on the computer can be very helpful. For patients already wearing contacts or glasses, new, more computer-friendly prescriptions are available. In addition to these treatment options, there are many things we can suggest to cut down on computer eye strain problems:
- Computer setup—Adjust your monitor so that it is about 15-20 degrees lower than your eye level when seated between 20-28 inches away from the screen. Reference materials can be placed on a document holder between the monitor and keyboard, or to the side, but positioned for as little head movement as possible. Also invest in an anti-glare screen for your monitor to help reduce glare from surrounding lights. Be sure to sit and work with proper posture.
- Adjust Lighting—If you can, reposition any lighting (or your computer) to minimize glare and use natural lighting whenever possible.
- Eye Rest and Blinking Breaks—Every 20 minutes during your work, look away toward a distant point for 20 seconds to refocus your eyes, and give them a 15-minute break after each 2-hour computer session. Also remember to blink more frequently to keep your eyes moist.
With a combination of the proper optometry care and self-care, you can minimize computer eye syndrome and other modern-day vision problems. Contact us for an appointment today.
Computer Vision Syndrome
Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) is a common problem that we are seeing more frequently at Pflugerville Vision.
CVS is a temporary condition that is the result of extended, uninterrupted computer usage. CVS may also be the result of extended TV, videogame, or tablet usage.
When you are working on a computer for an extended period of time, your eyes are constantly re adjusting as you open new documents and scroll through text. After an extended period of time, our eye muscles, just like any other muscle, becomes fatigued.
Electronic screens are worse for eye strain than printed materials as the back light and lack of contrast require your eyes to work harder to maintain a clear picture.
The symptoms of SVS can include:
- Blurred vision
- Dry eye
- Neck pain
CVS can be amplified by a number of factors other than usage hours. Some additional factors that may affect CVS include:
- Distance from screen
- Existing refractive error
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above or think you may be experiencing extended computer usage, there are a number of things you can do to eliminate or decrease your symptoms. Since CVS is typically a temporary condition, limiting your usage should lessen the affects you are experiencing. We also recommend that patients take regular breaks during use.
The 20-20-20 rule is an easy rule to keep in mind, which states that after every 20 minutes of computer use, you should focus on an item that is 20ft away, for 20 seconds. This will give your eyes a much needed break.
Positive ergonomics can also help with CVS, which means having good posture, arm position, maintaining proper screen distance, and etc.
At Pflugerville, we can also provide you with glasses specifically designed for eye strainand computer usage. This may include a bifocal lens, a prescription optimized for computer use, or a minor tinting to improve contrast.
If you’d like to learn more about CVS, or would like to book an appointment, please give us a call at 512-251-2941. We’d be happy to speak with you, and begin improving your CVS today!