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How Do You Know If You Have Computer Vision Syndrome? 

May 12, 2022

American office workers spend an average of seven hours a day on digital devices. Computers, tablets, and mobile phones are now part of the world we live in, however, they can take a tremendous toll on the health of our eyes. Nearly 70 percent of adults experience some form of digital eye strain, also known as computer vision syndrome. Read on as a Cambrian Park, CA optometrist discusses computer vision syndrome, symptoms to watch for, and available treatment options. 

What Is Computer Vision Syndrome?

Compared to the printed page, digital screens have certain characteristics that make your eyes work harder. Letters and numbers on a screen appear less sharply defined. Screens also cast glares and reflections. And the contrast between text and a screen’s background is weaker. Then too, the difference in angles and distance when looking at a screen compared to a printed page also places a strain on your eyes.

Computer vision syndrome refers to a group of vision and eye problems that are caused by spending long periods looking at a digital screen. Also known as digital eye strain, a range of symptoms can fall under this condition, including:

  • Dry eyes
  • Headaches
  • Eye fatigue
  • Blurry vision
  • Headaches
  • Sore eyes
  • Shoulder pain
  • Neck pain

Who’s Most at Risk of Getting Computer Vision Syndrome?

Looking at a digital screen for hours at a time definitely increases your risk of developing computer vision syndrome, however, other preexisting vision problems can actually increase your overall risk. For example, wearing a weak or incorrect contact lens or eyeglass prescription will make your eyes more susceptible to fatigue and strain. And in some cases, the viewing distance required when working with a computer screen can even make the correct prescription unsuitable.  

Other factors that can increase your risk include:

  • Sitting to close the screen (or holding the screen to close in the case of a mobile device)
  • Spending over two continuous hours a day looking at digital screens
  • Bad posture
  • Not taking breaks when working
  • Viewing the screen at a wrong angle

What Treatment Options Are Available?

Many treatment options are available for computer vision syndrome. The type of treatment that works best for you will depend on the types of symptoms you’re experiencing. An optometrist can perform an eye exam to identify any preexisting conditions that make you more susceptible to developing digital eye strain. From there, recommendations will be made to help minimize the harmful effects from working with digital screens. 

Here are a few of the most common treatment options:

  • Special lens designs
  • Special lens tints or coating
  • Upgrade your current eyeglass or contact lens prescription
  • Vision therapy
  • Glasses prescribed specifically for computer use

If you have more questions or wish to schedule a consultation, feel free to call our Cambrian, CA optometry office today.