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Computer Vision Syndrome

Do You Suffer from this Contemporary Eye Condition?

Prolonged computer use can cause a whole slew of ocular problems. After hours in front of a monitor, many people report vision-related difficulties or symptoms of eye discomfort. Do you share these complaints? The level of irritation varies with each individual and is generally proportionate with the amount of time spent using computers. You’re at the greatest risk for Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) if you spend two or more continuous hours at a computer daily. CVS is a growing problem in our hi-tech society, and at Your Village iDoc in Carlsbad, we are up-to- date on all of the latest solutions to bring you relief.

Our professional optometrist, Douglas M. Osborne, OD,  is familiar and experienced with diagnosing and treating Computer Vision Syndrome. We will meet with you in our downtown Carlsbad office to discuss your lifestyle and occupational hazards that may be responsible for this condition. After comprehensive visual testing to pinpoint your problems, our medical team will determine the best course of treatment to alleviate your symptoms. Possible remedies include specialized eyewear, vision therapy and guidance as to proper computer viewing.

Here’s a rundown of all you need to know about Computer Vision Syndrome:

Common symptoms of CVS

  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry eyes
  • Eyestrain
  • Neck and shoulder pain

These vision-related problems are either mild or more severe depending upon how much time is spent in front of a computer screen. Your personal eyesight condition also plays a role in the degree that CVS affects daily life. Uncorrected visual issues, such as astigmatism, presbyopia, farsightedness and weak eye coordination can all contribute to the level of irritation associated with computer usage.

The majority of CVS symptoms will decline when your computer work ceases. Yet some people report lingering problems even after abandoning the computer, such as blurry distance vision. If these symptoms are ignored, then they will typically recur and possibly worsen with continued computer use.

What Causes CVS?

The act of viewing a computer screen has many unique characteristics that generate high visual demands. The letters on a monitor may not be sharply defined, and the contrast between the background and the text is often reduced by reflections or glare on the screen due to improper lighting conditions. In addition, your viewing angle and distance may challenge eye muscles differently than a book or writing on paper. Simply put – your eyes may need to work harder than usual, and your eyes cannot keep up with the demands.

If you have any visual problems that are not being corrected properly, your performance and comfort level in front of a computer is greatly compromised. Vision correction prescriptions for eyeglasses or contact lenses may not be ideal for the placement of your computer monitor. You’ll know this is a problem if you find yourself tilting your head or bending forwards to see more clearly. Awkward seating postures such as these may cause neck, shoulder or back pain, as well as painful muscle spasms.

Diagnosing CVS

A complete eye exam by Douglas M. Osborne, OD will detect signs of Computer Vision Syndrome. He will pay particular attention to the visual requirements of your eyesight at the distance of a computer screen.

When diagnosing CVS, we take the following into consideration during our comprehensive evaluation:

  • Patient history- This includes general health condition, present symptoms reported by the patient, environmental factors that affect vision-related problems and current medications.
  • Refraction- The appropriate lens power needed to compensate for any refractive errors, such as astigmatism, nearsightedness or farsightedness, is determined by refraction.
  • Measurements of Visual Acuity- We use these tests to inspect precisely how your vision is being impacted.
  • Eye Teaming and Focus- Your eyes must work together for you to focus clearly. We will screen for any problems that hinder eye mobility and coordination. Sometimes eye drops are used to check your eyes’ focusing power.

Altogether, the results from our testing will help determine if you suffer from Computer Vision Syndrome and guide our optometrist towards the best treatment.

Treatment for CVS

There is no one-size- fits-all treatment for visual symptoms caused by computer usage. Yet the eye discomfort and irritations of CVS can generally be relieved by both regular, skilled optical care and a few behavior changes.

Professional eye care treatments:

Whether you don’t require vision correction or you already wear eyeglasses or contact lenses, you still may benefit from specialized glasses prescribed and custom-made for computer use. Your regular prescription may not be a good match for the time spent in front of a screen, and customized lens powers, designs, coatings or tints may help enhance your comfort and visual abilities when using a computer.

If eyeglasses or contacts don’t bring relief, vision therapy may be your best solution. Also called visual training, this program uses eye exercises and training to strengthen vision skills and correct deficiencies in eye teaming, movement and focusing. The whole eye-brain connection is bolstered.

Changing the way you view your computer:

Alleviating your CVS symptoms may be as straightforward as rearranging your interior office space.

  • Computer Screen Placement: For optimal viewing, your screen should be 15 to 20 degrees (about 4 to 5 inches) below eye level. Take this measurement from the center of the screen, which should be placed 20 to 28 inches away from your eyes.
  • Seating Position: The height of your comfortable, padded work chair should be adjusted so that your feet rest flat on the floor. Chair arms should support you when typing, and your wrist should not be resting on the keyboard.
  • Room Lighting: Avoid glare from windows or overhead lights. Install blinds or drapery on your office windows, and desk lamps should have low watt bulbs.
  • Anti-glare Screens: If it’s too challenging to totally eliminate glare from light sources, a screen glare filter is a good option. Anti-glare screens reduce the quantity of disturbing, reflected light.
  • Position of Reference Materials: Keep any documents that you need to consult while typing, below the monitor and above the keyboard. You may find that a document holder is helpful and prevents you from shifting your head back and forth all of the time.
  • Take Breaks: After two hours of continuous computer use, rest your eyes to prevent eyestrain. Another good practice for healthy eyesight is to look into the distance for 20 seconds after every 20 minutes of viewing your computer. This enables your eyes to refocus.
  • Blink: Make a concerted effort to blink regularly when gazing at a computer screen. This will moisten the surface of your eyes.

Managing and treating Computer Vision Syndrome involves a combination of preventing and reducing your vision-related symptoms. Regular visual screening and eye health exams will help alleviate the discomfort that is caused by CVS. Contact us today for an appointment with our qualified optometrist at Your Village iDoc.

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