Computer vision syndrome is a temporary condition which results from focusing your vision on a computer display for long periods of time, often uninterrupted. Common symptoms of CVS include:
- Blurred vision
- Neck pain
- Eye redness
- Eye strain
- Dry eyes
- Double vision
- Irritable eyes
- Difficulty focusing
Studies have shown that Computer Vision syndrome affects upto 90% of the people who spend three hours or more a day at a computer. The cost of eye care and glasses made for computer users is a nearly $2 billion industry in the US.
Associated features of CVS
People who suffer with CVS have a strong association with musculoskeletal problems, such as neck problems, back problems, shoulder problems, and/or carpal tunnel syndrome.
Causes of CVS
1. Environmental factors
- People who use computers stare at computer monitors at a distinct angle. This, coupled with a large variety of light fixtures and illumination sources at the workplace, exacerbate CVS.
- The increased ambient temperature around the computer hard drive and monitor, couple with often workplace based air conditioned offices, results in added evaporation of the tear film resulting in dry eyes.
- Computer users open their eyes wider than non-computer users, and as a result have more exposure to the local environment and more evaporation resulting in dry eyes.
2. Personal factors
- Uncorrected refractive errors, i.e. the need for glasses, contribute to the need for fatigue and visual tasks. Computer users who are middle aged may also suffer from presbyopia.
- Working for prolonged periods of time looking at the computer monitor is a risk factor that may result in dry eyes due to the natural evaporation of the eye tear film. Those patients with dry eyes often have exacerbated symptoms. Women are affected more than men
- Diseases that widen the eye, such as thyroid eye disease may exacerbate the symptoms
- Computer users blink less than 4 times per minute rather than the normal 18 times per minute. This is likely to be due to efforts to gaze attentively to the monitor.
- Reduced blink rate worsens Mebomian Gland dysfunction and increase symptoms of meibomianitis
3. Combined factors
- Computer users who are presbyopic may need to extend their neck to look at the monitor through the bifocals. Diagnostic tests
There are very few tests that can be performed to validate CVS and often the diagnosis is clinical history and examination.
However, Lipiview examination provides a huge amount of data that helps to diagnose various aspects of your eyes. It is quick, easy and no interventional, and hence is able to help in treatment planning.
There are various ways to reduce symptoms of CVS, including:
- Eyeglass prescriptions
- Topical lubricants
- Cyclosporine A ophthalmic emulsion
- Punctal occlusion
- Lipiflow : recently Lipiflow has been found to improve symptoms in 86% of patients with MGD
- Punctal plug insertion.
Complications of CVS are similar to those in patients with dry eye, including superficial punctate keratitis and keratitis.
What can I do to improve my Computer Vision Syndrome
1. Adjust the Screen Brightness
Adjust the brightness of your screen so that the white background on the web or word processor page appears a natural white. If the white if too bright or appears grey, you need to adjust the settings.
2. Blink More
Most computer users blink less often when they're at their screens. In fact, when using a computer you need to blink more often; it wets your eyes and avoids dryness and irritation.
3. Get an Eye Examination
It is vital that your eyes are checked regularly.
4. Reduce Glare
Consider using an anti-glare filter on your screen or wearing glasses with an anti-glare coating on the lens. Avoid bright white walls; use a darker, matte colour.
5. Refocus Regularly
Every thirty minutes, look away from your screen and focus on a distant object. Move your focus around to exercise your eyes.
6. Take a Break
Regular breaks are vital for computer users.
7. Think About Workspace
Arrange your workspace so that everything is properly lit and ensure that your screen and chair are at the correct height.
8. Use the Right Light
9. Consider Lipiflow treatment
If you have been affected by any of the symptoms mentioned above, please don't hesitate to give us a call.
We have a team of experts on stand-by who are ready to take your call at our Manchester (0161 907 2685) Clinic or our Blackpool (01253 308 031) Clinic.