What is Computer Vision Syndrome?
Computer Vision SyndromeFrom phones to TV’s, viewing screens are all around us, and it’s always tempting to turn our attention towards them. The downfall is that looking at any digital screen for prolonged hours can negatively impact your vision, especially when spending long hours on the computer. If you look at a screen for many hours every day, you may notice some discomfort or vision problems—this may be due to computer vision syndrome.
Nationwide Vision helps patients pinpoint their vision issues to relieve discomfort and return to optimum visual capacity through prescription eye wear, and specialized techniques to help people avoid eye strain.
Computer Vision Syndrome Symptoms & Causes
Being on the computer for a short amount of time probably won’t cause eye discomfort. However, with computer vision syndrome, there are a number of vision issues that may occur, including:
- Dry eyes (especially for contact lens wearers)
- Neck and shoulder pain
- Blurred vision
What causes these symptoms? Multiple factors could be at play, such as:
- Poor lighting
- Too much brightness
- Untreated vision problems (commonly associated with astigmatism and farsightedness)
- Screen glare
- Too close or too far away from computer screen
The level of discomfort depends on how long you stare at the computer screen and whether or not you fix site specific causes, like screen glare, poor lighting, or bad posture. In some cases, people may continue to deal with reduced visual abilities even after leaving the computer. This may be a sign of untreated vision problems, like farsightedness, astigmatism, or nearsightedness.
Computer Vision Syndrome Diagnosis
Computer vision syndrome can’t be self-diagnosed. An eye professional needs to perform a thorough eye examination to determine if your vision problems stem from computer vision syndrome. Besides a routine review of your health history, specific tests include:
- Focus testing: Your doctor will test your eyes to determine if you can focus on an object in unison.
- Refraction: Testing for refractive errors in the lens will help your doctor determine what type of vision problem is making computer vision syndrome worse (astigmatism, nearsightedness, farsightedness)
- Visual acuity measurements: Measures the extent of how your vision is affected during long periods of focus, especially while using the computer.
With detailed results from each test, your eye doctor can determine if computer vision syndrome is caused by outside factors or an underlying vision problem. A treatment plan will then be designed for you to address the symptoms.
Treatment & Computer Viewing Tips
If you have vision problems due to astigmatism, farsightedness, or nearsightedness, your optometrist can help treat your computer vision syndrome by prescribing glasses that are specifically made for computer use, reading, and other activities. If the problem lies with eye coordination, vision therapy is another treatment option to consider. This therapy trains the eyes to work in unison.
While computer vision syndrome treatments can vary, there are at-home strategies you can follow to reduce symptoms:
- Keep the computer screen at least 4 to 5 inches below eye level
- Sit 20 to 28 inches away from the screen
- Position the computer away from glare or use an anti-glare screen
- Sit in a chair that accommodates to your height
- Rest eyes and blink more often
Contact Us For More Information
Do your eyes feel tired and unfocused? If you think it’s due to hours in front of the computer, please contact Nationwide Vision to discuss your symptoms with an optometrist. To schedule an appointment, simply call 1-877-222-4218.