Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) can occur in anyone who spends hours viewing a computer screen, whether at work, attending school from home, or doing any task that involves using a computer or digital device. Viewing digital screens is more visually demanding than reading a printed page. Associated eye strain and discomfort affect between 50% and 90% of people who work at a computer, including adults and children.

At ADV Vision Centers, where we can diagnose and treat eye problems associated with CVS, we’ve compiled some useful information about this common condition.

Signs of Computer Vision Syndrome

Common symptoms include eyestrain and difficulties with eye focusing. One may also experience blurred vision, dry eyes, burning eyes, red eyes, double vision, and headaches while neck and shoulder pain can occur too. The extent of the symptoms depends on how long you look at a digital screen and whether you have other eye health concerns. Most symptoms are temporary and subside after stopping or decreasing computer use; however, some people experience longer-term visual symptoms regardless.

How Computers Negatively Impact Vision

Computer Vision Syndrome is much like repetitive motion injuries that can occur with work, such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Your eyes have to constantly focus and refocus as you read a screen, making the same movements over and over. Looking down at notes or documents and then back to the screen to type forces eye muscles to work harder. The contrast, glare, and flicker on a screen can also induce strain, while a combination of poor lighting, posture, and viewing distances—as well as uncorrected vision problems—can too.

Avoiding Computer Vision Syndrome

Computer ergonomics can help avoid CVS. You can practice visual ergonomics by sitting with a good posture. The center of the computer screen should be four or five inches below eye level, assuming your eyes are 20 to 28 inches away. The display should be positioned such that there are no reflections on it. Also, make sure to blink often to keep your eyes moist, and consider tinted lenses and/or filters that block blue light, as it can have negative effects on vision.

Rest is also important. Follow the 20-20-20 rule—for every 20 minutes on the computer, take 20 seconds to look into the distance and give your eyes 20 seconds to refocus. Also, give your eyes a 15-minute break after two hours of continuous time on the computer.

Treatment Options

man using computer inside room

Often, Computer Vision Syndrome can be treated by prescribing special eyeglasses for computer use. It doesn’t ordinarily require advanced treatment such as eye surgery, however if you are experiencing extreme discomfort of any sort it is vital to check in with a doctor. If you currently wear glasses, consider seeing an eye care professional to determine if your prescription is adequate enough. Not all corrective lenses and contact lenses are suited for computer work. In some cases, vision therapy is needed to train the eyes and brain through specific eye exercises. If you spend long amounts of time on the computer, it is a smart choice to meet with your eye doctor to discuss how to keep your eyes healthy while doing so.

Book an Appointment with ADV Vision Centers

At ADV Vision Centers, we specialize in many kinds of eye care, including LASIK, glaucoma treatment, and various types of eye surgery in San Luis Obispo. Our doctors are experienced with using the latest technologies to diagnose and treat a wide range of eye conditions. To schedule your free consultation, call us at 805-987-5300 today.