What Is Computer Vision Syndrome?

If you normally sit in front of a computer screen for several hours every single day of the week, it is important that you see an eye doctor whenever you experience any type of vision problem. This is because you may have developed Computer Vision Syndrome, or CVS. This is a temporary eye condition that is characterized by vision-related problems. People who use computers for prolonged periods are at high risk of developing CVS.

While looking at computer screens for extended periods is the main cause of the problem, the following are some factors that increase the risk of developing CVS:

  • Poor seating posture when using a computer
  • Sitting too close or too far from the computer
  • Glare on the screen
  • Poor lighting in the room
  • Vision problems that have been left untreated

A combination of these factors can also put computer users at a high risk of developing Computer Vision Syndrome. There are dozens of symptoms that may be experienced by people who have CVS. However, the following are some of the most common:

  • Blurred vision
  • Eye discomfort
  • Headaches
  • Eye strain
  • Dry eyes
  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Mild pain in the eyes
  • Double vision
  • Eye irritation
  • Red eyes

Prevalence

According to research studies, Computer Vision Syndrome affects 90 percent of people who use computer screens for at least three hours a day. The symptoms are usually temporary, so they often subside once you take your eyes off the screen. However, they often return soon after you go back to staring at computer screens for several hours. CVS does not just affect adults who use computers for work or leisure, it also affects children and teenagers who spend a lot time playing on portable video games or using computers both at school and at home. Uncorrected vision problems can contribute to development of CVS. If you have any of the following problems, you may experience CVS after staring at computer screen for more than three hours:

  • Presbyopia: vision problems due to aging
  • Farsightedness
  • Astigmatism
  • Inadequate eye coordinating capabilities

While symptoms subside with time spent away from the screen, they may get worse with continued use of computers without seeking treatment. An optometrist should be consulted when symptoms of CVS are experienced. Other measures can be implemented to ensure that extended periods of computer use do not cause more harm.

CVS Diagnosis

An eye exam performed by a qualified optometrist can help to determine whether or not a person has CVS. The eye doctor will take a look at the patient’s history to find out whether the eye problems are a result of environmental factors, medications taken or general health problems. Visual acuity measurements may be taken to ascertain the extent of the damage. The optometrist may also administer a simple test to assess the coordination and focusing abilities of the eyes. The results of the tests will enable the optometrist to determine whether or not the patient has Computer Vision Syndrome.

CVS Treatment

Computer Vision Syndrome is treatable, and also preventable. Since symptoms usually subside once you take your eyes off the computer screen, staying away from computers is often an effective remedy for the problem. However, that may be almost impossible in this day and age. If you absolutely have to stay in front of a computer screen for several hours, the following measures may help to keep CVS at bay:

– Install anti-glare screens on your computer monitors
– Sit on a padded chair that offers sufficient support to your body
– Use proper lighting both at the office and at home
– Consider resting for 15 minutes for every two hours you stare at computer screens
– Use contact lenses and eyeglasses prescribed for computer use

After examining the patient, an optometrist may recommend some medications and eye drops to help reduce the severity of the symptoms.

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