Computer Vision Syndrome

Computers put a tremendous amount of strain on your eye muscles, yet it is impossible to avoid using computers. We have become so dependent on computers, smart phones and tablets at work and home for e-mail, social networks, internet access, word processing, number crunching, and graphic design.

A report from the Institute for Communication Technology Management at the USC Marshall School of Business reports that Americans consume media for an average of 15.5 hours per person per day! This includes viewing computers and laptops, mobile phones (including texting), televisions, and tablet computers (such as iPads). Anything that you do this many hours per day is bound to place stress on you, and your body. Imagine if you lifted boxes for 15.5 hours/day: how tired would the muscles in your arms, legs and back be? Now think about the thousands of eye movements (tracking, eye teaming and focusing) that your eyes make every day scanning your phone and computer to input visual information. Your eyes work very hard for you, and we are all very dependent on our visual system.

As computer usage has increased, so has related vision problems. One reason is because your eyes need to work harder to focus on the computer screen for a prolonged period. Computers are more visually demanding than printed material because the image on a monitor is not stable like printed text in a book. It is composed of pixels of light that are continually being refreshed. Therefore, your eye muscles must constantly adjust to keep the flickering screen in focus. Because of this intense focusing demand, even low amounts of uncorrected astigmatism or farsightedness make your eye muscles work harder. Studies have shown that prescription glasses, designed specifically for computer use, will decrease eyestrain and physical fatigue, and improve productivity.

Muscles that control eye movement and coordination also get a workout at the computer as you scan the screen or surf the web for hours. Inefficient eye tracking can make it difficult for you to analyze spreadsheets and keep your eyes on the lines of text. Poor eye coordination can slow you down while reading the screen. Eyes that tend to drift apart create symptoms such as eyestrain, intermittent double images and headaches.

Another cause of computer-related eyestrain is dry eyes. We tend to blink less frequently while concentrating which diminishes eye lubrication. Dry eye symptoms include burning, itching, intermittent blur, or a “heavy eyes” sensation. This can usually be improved by using artificial tears, a humidifier, or nutritional supplements to increase tear production.

If you or your employees spend an hour or more each day using a computer, having the fastest computer and latest hardware is not enough. An up-to-date computer prescription, and correctly balanced eye muscles are necessary to optimize your comfort and productivity.

Even a small, uncorrected prescription has been shown to cause discomfort and interfere with productivity while working at the computers.

Below is a list of vision problems associated with Computer Vision Syndrome which exists in approximately 50-90% of computers users.

Computer User’s Comfort and Productivity Checklist

Headache associated with computer use
Irritated eyes
Blurred vision
Slow to refocus on objects around the room after prolonged computer or desk work?
Difficulty seeing clearly at distance after prolonged computer use?
Vision goes in and out of focus
Words appear to move on the screen?
Frequent loss of place when looking between copy and screen?
Double vision at any time?
Neck ache or blurry vision with current prescription?
Frequent visual mistakes? i.e. inverting letters or numbers, or while proofreading?
Computers and mobile phone use are only 2 of the important reasons to have your eyes checked and your prescription fine-tuned every year.
Teen Laptop Sleep