Better Eye Health

In this digital age, many of us spend a lot of our time in front of computer screens. Whether we’re working hard or hardly working, our eyes are working harder to view these screens, putting us at risk of developing Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) also known as digital eye strain, this is a relatively new condition that affects millions of people worldwide.

In recognition of Healthy Vision Month, we’ll be talking about what causes Computer Vision Syndrome, its symptoms, how to prevent it, and how it can be treated. If you spend a lot of time in front of screens, it’s important to be aware of the symptoms and take steps to prevent or address them. With a little bit of effort and awareness, we can significantly reduce the risk of developing CVS and ensure long-term eye health for computer users.

What Causes Computer Vision Syndrome?

CVS is caused by the way our eyes process information from digital devices. People who spend two or more consecutive hours every day are at the greatest risk of developing CVS because when looking at screens, people tend to:

  • Blink less often, causing the eyes to become dry and irritated.
  • Use devices that have glare on the screen, causing the eyes to constantly adjust between light and dark areas.
  • View screens at an improper distance or angle, most often too close, causing the eye muscles to work harder to focus.

In addition to these habits, another contributing factor to CVS is blue light. Blue light is a high-energy, short-wavelength form of light that is emitted by most digital screens. Exposure to blue light is not always harmful, but it can strain the eyes.

What Are Computer Vision Syndrome Symptoms?

CVS can cause a range of symptoms due to prolonged computer use. These symptoms include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Double vision
  • Dry eyes
  • Eye discomfort
  • Eye fatigue
  • Eye itching
  • Eye redness
  • Eye tearing
  • Headaches
  • Neck and shoulder pain

It’s worth noting that CVS likely does not cause permanent eye damage. However, these visual symptoms can significantly disrupt a person's quality of life. For that reason, taking steps to prevent or address CVS is very important.

How To Diagnose Computer Vision Syndrome?

Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) can be diagnosed through a comprehensive eye examination conducted by an eye care professional. The diagnosis involves tests to assess visual acuity, refractive errors, and eye focus, movement, and coordination. This helps determine the presence of CVS and guide appropriate treatment options.

How Can I Prevent Computer Vision Syndrome?

There are several strategies you can employ to prevent yourself from developing CVS, starting with adjusting your devices. Increasing font sizes or zooming can reduce the amount of strain on your eyes, as can increasing your screen’s contrast. You may also find it helpful to add an anti-glare screen cover.

Adjusting the rest of your workspace can help, as well. If you’re still using an older CRT monitor, it’s time to upgrade to a flat-panel LED monitor, which can help eliminate eye strain caused by the way a CRT monitor flickers. Your desk chair may need an update, as well; make sure you have a good-quality office chair with proper back support. Also, try to reduce ambient light to eliminate glare. This might mean closing curtains or shades or dimming the lights.

It’s also important to take breaks from your screen. The 20-20-20 rule is a great way to do this; every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and look at something at least 20 feet away. This gives your eyes the chance to rest and refocus, reducing your risk of developing CVS.

What Can I Do About My Computer Vision Syndrome?

If you’re already experiencing symptoms and looking to cure your Computer Vision Syndrome, there are a few things you can do to ease your discomfort. Computer vision syndrome treatment includes: 

  • Follow the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and focus on something 20 feet away. This helps reduce eye strain and fatigue.
  • Use artificial tears: Lubricating eye drops can provide relief from dryness and irritation caused by prolonged screen time.
  • Apply warm compresses: Placing a warm compress over your closed eyes for a few minutes can help relax eye muscles and relieve discomfort.
  • Adjust your workspace: Make sure your computer monitor is positioned at an appropriate distance (about an arm's length away) and at eye level. Use an ergonomic chair and adjust lighting to minimize glare.
  • Consider blue light glasses: Blue light filtering lenses, also known as blue light glasses, have a special coating that helps filter out blue light emitted by screens. They are designed to reduce eye fatigue and discomfort caused by prolonged screen time. Consult with an eye care professional to determine if they are suitable for you.

Your Eyes Deserve The Best Care Possible

At Everett & Hurite Eyecare Specialists, our team of experienced professionals is dedicated to providing top-quality care for all your eye health needs. With specialized knowledge in treating eye problems, we offer personalized solutions and guidance to help you find relief and maintain optimal eye health.

If you’re still experiencing symptoms, contact the experts at Everett & Hurite. We can help you determine if there is an underlying condition causing your symptoms and develop a treatment plan to help you find relief. Schedule online or call us at (412) 288-0858 to make an appointment at one of our 10 locations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can CVS affect children and teenagers?

Yes, children and teenagers who spend a significant amount of time using digital devices can also experience CVS symptoms. It is important to encourage healthy screen habits and monitor their screen time.

Can adjusting the brightness and contrast settings on my screen help reduce CVS symptoms?

Yes, optimizing the brightness and contrast settings on your screen can help reduce eye strain and discomfort associated with CVS. Adjust them to a comfortable level for your eyes.

Can wearing prescription glasses or contact lenses help alleviate CVS symptoms?

If you require corrective lenses for your vision, wearing them while using digital devices can help reduce eye strain and improve visual comfort. Consult with an eye care professional for the appropriate prescription.