by Hillary Rubin

Do your eyes every feel really tired? Perhaps they sting? If you experience eye strain and eye fatigue when you are in front of a computer – you may be experiencing Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS). Well over 70 per cent of around 143 million Americans adults are affected by Computer Vision Syndrome and Computer Eye Strain (CES). That number derives from those American adults who work on computers on a daily basis. It has been documented that children can also experience CVS and CES due to prolonged exposure to computers and too much computer usage.

Typically, symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome and Computer Eye Strain are loss of ocular focus (your eyes have a hard time focusing), tired eyes, a burning sensation in your eyes, neck and shoulder pain, headaches that stem from behind your eyes, and blurred vision. What is the cause of the symptoms? CVS and CES are caused by the reaction of the eye and brain to characters on the computer. They react differently to the characters and features on a computer than they do to printed characters. Computers do not have the same degree of contrast and definition that printed characters have as printed characters
are sharp and well-defined.

Pixels are the little points of light that, at the center, are brightest and taper out in intensity towards the outer lines. They cause our eyes to drift involuntarily to the Resting Point of Accommodation (RPA) instead of staying totally focused on the screen as a whole. When our eyes drift, they make attempts at trying to regain focus on the screen – causing the muscles of the eye that constantly flex to become strained and very fatigued.

Do you think you might have Computer Vision Syndrome? Go see your ophthalmologist and get a computer vision eye exam! Getting this exam may detect any vision problems that contribute to and worsen Computer Vision Syndrome. Your doctor might prescribe a pair of computer eyeglasses that includes special prescription just for seeing the computer screen. These help patients see their computer screen more clearly and comfortably. Consumers should also add an anti-glare or antireflective coating to the front and back parts of their lenses to reduce glare from the computer screen – which also helps to prevent eye strain.

Computer prescription eyeglasses are specifically designed to make the computer screen look a lot clearer to you because it gives the muscles that control shifting and refocusing in the eye a rest! Some doctors may also prescribe multi-focal prescription eyeglasses, like those with progressive lenses, to accommodate those who have problems seeing both far and near. Multi-focal eyeglasses like trifocals and progressive lenses allow patients to see their computer screen more comfortably along with the area around their computer – both near and far.

Computer Vision Syndrome is easily treated and has minimal up keep. Visit your optician every two years for a regular eye exam just to ensure your eyes stay healthy.