What is Computer Vision Syndrome

Technology does not always work in our favor. It can expose people to issues that can have an effect even after they power off their computers, phones, tablets and iPads. Computer Vision Syndrome is a very real condition that affects millions of people who spend extensive amounts of time looking at some kind of digital screen. But what exactly is this common condition?

The Basics of Computer Vision Syndrome

Also called Digital Eye Strain, the Computer Vision Syndrome is acquiring from looking at a computer screen for too long. This condition is marked by headaches, dry eyes, blurred vision, and pain in the neck and shoulder areas. These effects can be both temporary and more extensive. Temporary conditions can sometimes be alleviated by taking a break from viewing the electrical device. However, there are instances when the effects of Computer Vision Syndrome can linger.

This can lead to ongoing problems with blurred vision, a decrease in one’s visual capabilities and a recurrence of the symptoms associated with Computer Vision Syndrome. The reason this occurs is because there is additional strain put on the eyes. Looking at a computer screen is very different from reading a book or magazine. The lettering is less defined on a digital screen. The background contrast is decreased, and the additional glare makes for a greater level of viewing difficulty. It essentially makes your eyes work much harder.

The viewing angles are also much different than the ones used for ordinary reading or writing. This causes problems in people with pre-existing vision problems and can also impact those without any vision issues. Those who already wear some type of corrective lenses are more susceptible to the lasting effects of Computer Vision Syndrome.

The Identification of Computer Vision Syndrome

This is a condition that can be diagnosed at a vision care center. There is testing that can be done to determine whether or not you are suffering from the effects of Computer Vision Syndrome. The first step is to find out if your symptoms are a product of another kind of condition. This is done by putting together a patient history. Vision acuity tests are then administered as it is important to detect any refractory errors that may exist. Once a diagnosis is made, it becomes much easier to eliminate these symptoms.

The Correction of Computer Vision Syndrome

There are several ways to correct the problems brought on by Computer Vision Syndrome and many are simple solutions that people can do without any type of medical assistance. The first option is to conduct the 20/20/20 method. This is performed by looking away from the screen every 20 minutes. It also requires looking at something at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. Keep doing this over the course of a day and all should be well.

The next fix involves keeping your screen the right distance away from your eyes. Any digital screen should be no closer than 20 inches from your eyes. The recommended distance for viewing is between 20-26 inches. Anything closer will force your eyes to work harder and that could produce the onset of the previously-mentioned symptoms. It is also a good idea to look at the screen on a downward trajectory. This can be slight as it does not have to be a major slant.

Lighting is also very important. The brightest lights are not necessarily the best ones for your work area. There is a need to consider the amount of glare produced by the lighting. A nearby lamp should illuminate your work area and not necessarily shine on your computer screen. Whichever way your room is set up, try to position your monitor in a way that eliminates or avoids any kind of glare.

The final method to avoiding issues with Computer Vision Syndrome is to see your optometrist about getting a pair of computer viewing glasses. There are glasses designed to eliminate this problem. The premise is to avoid any glare that would cause your eyes unnecessary strain. If you spend lots of time working at a computer, it may be beneficial to ask your eye doctor about these glasses.

Aging and Computer Vision Syndrome

Age can also play a role in Computer Vision Syndrome. Eyes typically weaken with age and those who are experiencing more vision issues can be more susceptible to acquiring these symptoms. Sometimes, even the simplest remedies can help. Blinking frequently keeps your eyes moist and can combat Digital Eye Strain. A normal blink rate is reduced when viewing a computer screen. Studies have shown that the normal rate of 17 blinks per minute drops to about 12 when viewing a computer screen. Becoming cognizant of your blinking is a way to be kind to your eyes and avoiding the strain that often comes with extensive viewing.