What is Computer Vision Syndrome?
Your work environment could be hazardous to your health! Computer Vision Syndrome is a very real eye problem that affects many individuals who spend a good part of their days staring at computer monitors. But it’s not just the computer monitor that is causing this eye problem.
The environment in which the computer work is taking place can be adding to the problems associated with Computer Vision Syndrome. Inadequate lighting, glare from windows, fluorescent lighting, sitting too close or too far away from the computer monitor and the manner in which the contents are being displayed on the monitor can all aggravate this syndrome.
The letters on a computer screen are not straight lines as they are on printed material, which the eye can easily focus on. They instead consist of pixels or tiny dots on which the eye has to constantly focus and refocus, and that creates fatigue and strain.
Symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome
The most notable symptom of Computer Vision Syndrome is eyestrain which causes eyes to feel tired and/or sore. However, other parts of the body can also be affected. Headaches, neck aches and backaches are common symptoms. Problems with vision are also symptoms and can include any or all of the following: blurred vision, double vision and/or distorted color vision.
Another symptom is eyes that are slow to change focus. For example, when looking at something in the distance and then quickly changing to look at something close up (or vice versa) there is a lag in the eye’s ability to bring the newer image into focus. The constant work being performed by the focusing muscles makes eyes tired. With Computer Vision Syndrome eyes tend to also have a dry or a burning sensation.
Who is at risk?
Anyone, male or female is at risk of developing Computer Vision Syndrome if he or she spends long periods of time working at a computer. The people who develop symptoms of this syndrome tend to not take breaks, whether physical or visual. Getting up from the workstation and periodically focusing on something other than the computer monitor are important to prevent the onset of Computer Vision Syndrome.
When a person’s daily routine consists of 2 or more hours of work on a computer, it’s important to tell the eye doctor. If the patient is experiencing the symptoms mentioned above, the eye doctor can use a PIRO instrument to test for Computer Vision Syndrome. The purpose of this instrument is to simulate what an individual sees on a computer screen. It’s positioned at a distance comparable to that of the patient’s monitor. Using this instrument, vision is tested. A reduced Snellen card can also be used.
In most cases, computer eyeglasses need to be prescribed to put an end to the symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome. They generally will have a different prescription than regular eyeglasses. Computer eyeglasses may also include a computer tint, UV tint, anti-reflective coating and possibly a prism.