Who is affected by Computer Vision Syndrome?

  • Estimates vary, but some experts say 50% to 90% of computer users experience eyestrain or other symptoms of computer vision syndrome (CVS). Though CVS is often associated with adult computer users, children may be even more vulnerable to the condition.

What are the symptoms of CVS?

         Symptoms of computer vision syndrome include:

  • Headaches
  • Loss of focus
  • Burning/tired eyes
  • Double/blurred vision
  • Dry eyes
  • Neck and shoulder pain

What causes Computer Vision Syndrome?

  • CVS is caused by the increased demands of computer-generated images on our eyes and visual systems and by the prolonged and/or repetitive nature of computer work. Our eyes have little problem focusing on most printed material, which is characterized by dense black characters with well-defined edges. Characters on a computer screen, however, don’t have the same high contrast or well-defined borders. The luminous elements (pixels) that create images on a computer screen are brightest at the center and diminish in intensity toward their edges. This makes it more difficult for our eyes to accurately focus on computer-generated images compared to images printed with ink in a book or magazine. As our eyes struggle to gain and maintain focus on images on a computer screen, this continuous flexing of the eyes’ focusing muscles creates fatigue and the burning, tired-eyes feeling that is so common after long hours at the computer. In addition, it’s common for computer users to fall into bad postural habits and remain in these positions for extended periods of time, causing muscle strain, fatigue and headaches.

What can I do about CVS?

  • A pair of computer eyeglasses can help relieve many of the symptoms of CVS. Unlike regular eyeglasses, computer glasses are prescribed specifically for the distance from your eyes to your computer screen. This reduces the focusing demands on your eyes during computer use to lessen eye fatigue and reduce the risk for eyestrain and other computer-related vision problems.

Will glare screens prevent CVS?

  • A glare filter for your computer screen may help somewhat, but it will not solve all your computer vision problems. Filters can reduce glare from overhead lights or outdoor sunlight reflecting off the surface of your computer screen. But they do nothing to prevent the vision problems related to the constant refocusing of your eyes when working at a computer. Only when your eyes can focus clearly at the plane of proper distance on the computer screen can they experience relief from the fatiguing effects of CVS. An anti-reflective treatment is also highly recommended on all computer eyeglasses.

Will computer eyeglasses make the screen clearer?

  • Yes, because they will eliminate the constant refocusing effort that your eyes go through when viewing the screen. Research has also shown that wearing computer eyeglasses increases productivity and accuracy.

If I don’t have symptoms of CVS, do I still need computer eyewear?

Maybe. Research has shown that even computer users who are not experiencing symptoms of CVS may benefit from wearing computer eyewear. An eye exam with Dr. Melcher or Dr. Potter is the best way to determine if computer glasses might be helpful for you.

For more information on relief of eye strain, visit All About Vision®.