Computer Vision Syndrome - man at his laptop rubbing his tired eyes


Computer Vision Syndrome and Digital Fatigue


What does computer use do to the eyes?


People who spend more than two hours on a computer each day may experience symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome - also called Visual Fatigue because it is actually not restricted to computer use but crops up in other contexts as well.  However, with society's ever increasing use of computers, smart phones, tablets and other screen-based media devices, screen time is mostly responsible for the condition.


Symptoms of computer vision syndrome


The most common symptoms of CVS are the following:


  • headaches
  • focusing difficulties
  • burning eyes
  • tired eyes
  • general eyestrain
  • aching eyes
  • dry eyes
  • double vision
  • blurred vision
  • light sensitivity
  • neck and shoulder pain


Three milliion Canadians suffer form computer vision syndrome


Some 3 million Canadian workers suffer from Computer Vision Syndrome, a condition caused by prolonged computer use.  In addition to that, a recent survey by the American Optometric Association found that 68% of young adults report a technology related vision problem. 


Computer use can make vision uncomfortable


And as our nation has moved from a manufacturing society to an information society, Computer Vision Syndrome has become a workplace concern.  While prolonged computer use will not damage vision, it can make you uncomfortable and decrease productivity.


What causes computer vision syndrome?

Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) is caused by the eyes constantly focusing and refocusing on the characters on a computer screen. These characters don’t have the contrast or well-defined edges like printed words and the eyes’ focus cannot remain fixed. Symptoms of CVS include headaches, loss of focus, burning or tired eyes, blurred vision and neck or shoulder pain.


Can ergonomics address computer vision syndrome?


CVS can be partially alleviated by changes in the ergonomics of the work area.  Proper lighting and monitor placement can go a long way toward reducing CVS, as can giving your eyes frequent "breaks” from the computer. But the underlying cause of CVS – the ability of the eyes to focus on the computer screen – may only be remedied by specialized computer glasses.


And eye exam is the first step to treating yoru digital fatigue and computer vision syndrome


A comprehensive eye exam, including questions about a person’s computer use habits is the first step. If we determine that vision correction for computer use is required, we can prescribe computer lenses that are designed to improve your vision in the 18” – 28” range, the optimal distance between your eyes and the computer monitor.


Treatment with computer eye-glasses


Once an eye doctor accurately diagnoses CVS, the next step is to specially design computer eyeglasses for the patient's particular needs that will allow him or her to work comfortably and productively at a computer.


Our doctors are experts at providing specially designed computer eye wear that makes it easier to work at a computer, use your smart phone or have fun on your tablet or ebook reader.  And that adds up to a better life because, lets face it, more and more of our lives are lived on a screen.


Excessive computer use can compromise eye movement skills


Computer use has lead to deficiencies in eye movement skills. These include convergence (the ability of the eyes to converge in unison to fucus on a near task and track it along a trajectory), divergence (the ability of the eyes to move appart in unison to shift focus to an object in the distance and track it) or accomodation (the construction of the eye muscles to increase the power of your natural ocular lens to increase focus up close.Vision therapy might be prescribed to address these conditions.


Dry eyes caused by computer vision syndrome


Computer use has been shown to decrease blink rate, which can contribute to dry eye disease. Treatment of dry eye disese is therefore one of the ways to treat the symptoms caused by computer and smartphone use. Dry eye treatments can include LipiScan to assess the health of your tear producing glands, LipiFlow to increase lipid production from these glands, artificial tears and other treatments.






See Dr. Randhawa


To book an appointment with Dr. Randhawa, please book online or call Perspective Optomterty Vancouver at (604) 435-EYE1.