Computer Vision Syndrome: What You Should Know

What is computer vision syndrome, and how does it affect eyesight? The following article discusses this common eye condition, its causes, and how it is treated. OptiExpress provides comprehensive eye exams, contact lens fittings, a gallery of designer frames, and a one-hour onsite lab.

Digital eye strain, also commonly known as computer vision syndrome, consists of a variety of symptoms that are directly or indirectly triggered by consistent-to-excessive exposure to blue light from digital screens from either computers or TVs (LED lights and sunlight can also exacerbate the condition). The symptoms tend to appear when the threshold of seven hours of computer screen exposure is reached, though everyone is unique, and may experience discomfort only after considerably more daily exposure.

Computer Vision Syndrome Symptoms

People experience computer vision syndrome in several ways, including:

  • Visual fatigue
  • Blurry vision
  • Headaches
  • Dry eyes
  • Itchy eyes
  • Neck pain
  • Shoulder pain

Computer vision syndrome is believed to be caused by visual system overuse exacerbated by blue light exposure. The result is a loss of ocular flexibility, efficiency, and stamina, which results in the onset of the above symptoms.

Preventing and Treating Computer Vision Syndrome

Computer vision syndrome is one of the top complaints reported to eye care professionals. The symptoms have a considerable impact on the sufferer’s ability to complete work assignments, study, read, and overall wellbeing. To reduce computer vision syndrome symptoms or prevent them from occurring, here are a few tips.

  • Have your eyes checked by an eye care professional. Having a comprehensive eye examination will establish what the causes of ocular discomfort are, whether you need corrective lenses, and if you are at risk for any eye-related medical conditions. If you are found to be suffering from computer vision syndrome, your eye care professional may provide you with a prescription that reduces discomfort.

  • Blink more. It has been found that people who spend a great deal of time in front of a screen blink less than when they are not exposed to digital screens. When you increase your blink rate, you can lessen dryness and discomfort.

  • Take periodic breaks from the screen. Uninterrupted, hours-long screen exposure can exacerbate computer vision syndrome. Do your best to take a break from the screen approximately every 20 minutes, either by stepping away from the screen for 30 seconds (which will also help with lower body circulation). You can also use the 20-20-20 technique, which involves focusing on an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes.

  • Invest in computer glasses. Blue light blocking glasses are a great tool for reducing your exposure to blue light, and can reduce the effects of eye strain. Blue light glasses are available in prescription, non-prescription, and reader lenses.

OptiExpress founder Dr. J. Michael Witherington has been named one of Ft. Myers’s leading eye care specialists for three consecutive years. He has practiced in South Florida for over two decades. To schedule an eye exam at our Ft. Myers or Cape Coral location, please visit our contact page.