Computer Vision Syndrome
In the past decade, computer use among children in the United States has become pervasive. Consider these statistics:
- 94 percent of American families with children have a computer in the home with access to the Internet.*
- The amount of time children ages 8 to 18 devote to entertainment media (including computer and video games) each day has increased from 6.19 hours in 1999 to 7.38 hours in 2009.**
- In 2009, 29 percent of American children ages 8 to 18 had their own laptop computer, and kids in grades 7 through 12 reported spending an average of more than 90 minutes a day sending or receiving texts on their cell phones.**
Many pediatric eye doctors believe that heavy computer use among children puts them at risk for early myopia. Recent research appears to confirm that fear.
With so many of us using computers at work, computer eye strain has become a major job-related complaint. Studies show that eye strain and other bothersome visual symptoms occur in 50 to 90 percent of computer workers.
These problems can range from physical fatigue, decreased productivity and increased numbers of work errors, to minor annoyances like eye twitching and red eyes.
Here are 10 easy steps you can take to reduce your risk of computer eye strain and other common symptoms of computer vision syndrome (CVS): For More . . .
When you work at a computer for any length of time, it’s common to experience eye strain, blurred vision, red eyes and other symptoms of computer vision syndrome (CVS). This is because the visual demands of computer work are unlike those associated with most other activities.
If you’re under age 40, eye strain or blurred vision during computer work may be due to an inability of your eyes to remain accurately focused on your screen or because your eyes have trouble changing focus from your keyboard to your screen and back again for prolonged periods. These focusing (accommodation) problems often are associated with CVS.
If you’re over age 40, the problem may be due to the onset of presbyopia — the normal age-related loss of near focusing ability. This, too, can cause CVS symptoms.
What can you do? For starters, have a comprehensive eye exam to rule out vision problems and update your eyeglasses prescription. Studies show that even small inaccuracies in your prescription lenses can contribute to computer vision problems.*
If your glasses are up-to-date (or you don’t need prescription eyewear for most tasks) and you continue to experience eye discomfort during computer work, consider purchasing customized computer glasses. These special-purpose glasses are prescribed specifically to reduce eye strain and give you the most comfortable vision possible at your computer.
Computers, tablets, e-readers, smartphones and other electronic devices with visual displays all can cause tired eyes, digital eye strain and computer vision syndrome.
And computer-related eye problems have become widespread: according to The Vision Council, nearly 70 percent of American adults experience some form of digital eye strain.
Learn how to protect yourself from digital eye strain, including how specially designed computer glasses can relieve tired eyes, 10 tips to reduce computer eye strain, how computer ergonomics can minimize your risk of computer vision problems, and more. For More . . .
Q: What to do about tired eyes from too much reading and computer? — Teachers from Salter Elementary, Talladega, Alabama
A: This is really a common problem nowadays. See your eye doctor and get a computer vision correction that will help you focus more accurately and with less effort. When prescribed properly, these glasses also can help you read printed material with greater ease, and the lenses can have tints and coatings to make your eyes feel a lot better!
I also recommend taking frequent breaks (every 15-30 minutes) where you look at something real far away, like out a window, to relax your focusing muscles. You should also make sure the lighting is correct for the activity you are doing — bright for reading and a bit dimmer for computer work, with no glare. — Dr. Dubow
Q: Is it necessary for adults and children to wear special eye protection when working on the computer? Is such protection necessary if vision correction spectacles are being used? — M.V., India
Computer eye strain affects more than 70 percent of the approximately 143 million Americans who work on a computer on a daily basis, according to the American Optometric Association (AOA).
And eye strain and other symptoms of computer vision syndrome (CVS) don’t occur only in adults. Millions of children work at a computer every day, either at home or in school. Prolonged computer use can stress a child’s eyes and may affect normal vision development.
What are the symptoms of computer vision syndrome?
If you or your child spend more than two hours per day in front of a computer screen, it’s likely you will experience some degree of computer vision syndrome. Symptoms of CVS include:
What causes computer vision syndrome?
If you use a computer at work, you probably already know that a long day of staring at your screen can lead to eye strain, tired eyes, headache, muscle aches and other symptoms of computer vision syndrome(CVS). But you may not know that CVS also can cause work mistakes and lost productivity.
And if you own a company, you might be interested to know that studies suggest you can increase profits by providing your employees vision care benefits and computer glasses to help boost productivity, decrease errors and reduce worker disability claims.
Is Computer Vision Syndrome Really a Major Problem at Work?