Computer Vision Syndrome?


What is Computer Vision Syndrome?

Computer Vision Syndrom (CVS) also called Digital Eye Strain, is a common problem of modern times which results from prolonged usage of computer, tablet, e-reader and cell phones. It is seen that Computer vision syndrome affects about 90% of the people who spend three hours or more a day at a computer. The level of discomfort appears to increase with the amount of digital screen use. In normal conditions our focus changes between objects distant and near. So, the focussing muscles of the eyes contract and relax as required. But when we keep focusing the eyes on a computer or other display device for prolonged and uninterrupted periods of time the muscles do not get time to relax. When we work at a computer, our eyes have to focus and refocus at a close range all the time.  They move back and forth as we read. One may have to look down at papers and then back up to type. All these jobs require a lot of effort from all your eye muscles. Flicker from the computer screen, improper viewing distance, poor seating posture, improper lighting conditions, glare from bright overhead lighting or a combination of these factors also add to the problems.

We blink our eyelids to moisten our eyes from time to time. It is also seen that the blinking rate is reduced when we work in the computers. Many times the computers produces heat and makes the air around the workstation dry. These factors results in dryness of the eyes. The lack of natural air circulation in a closed working place many times further worsens the condition. Air from overhead vents or direct air from fan or air conditioner may increase the dryness.

Symptoms of CVS

Due to CVS people commonly suffer from headaches, blurred vision, double vision, vertigo, dizziness, difficulty in focusing to distant objects, neck and shoulder pain. Symptoms of dryness of the eyes include redness, irritation, foreign body sensation, watering, itching and pain.

Diagnosis of CVS

Computer Vision Syndrome, or Digital Eye Strain, can be diagnosed through a comprehensive eye examination. It includes history, visual acuity measurements, assessing the extent to which vision is affected, refraction and test how the eyes focus, move and work together. Any pre- existing eye problem like dry eye and ocular allergy needs to be diagnosed. Cycloplegic refraction may be required to find the correct eye power.

Dry eye is a major cause of discomfort in CVS. The use of artificial tear solutions can reduce the effects of dry eye in CVS. Symptoms of eye strain are responsible for much of the severity in CVS. Proper rest to the eye and its muscles is recommended to relieve the associated eye strain. The symptoms can usually be alleviated by obtaining regular eye care and making changes in how one view the screen and giving rest to the eyes while working on computers. A routinely recommended approach is to consciously blink the eyes every now and then (this helps replenish the tear film) and to look out of the window to a distant object or to the sky—doing so provides rest to the eye muscles. One of the recommendation is the “20 20 20 rule”: every 20 mins, focus the eyes at an object 20 feet (6 meters) away for 20 seconds.  Otherwise, it is advised to close the eyes (which has a similar effect) for 20 seconds, at least every half-hour.

Some patients have weakness of the muscles and find focusing on the screen difficult. These patients benefit from convergence exercise which can be done with a simple pencil or a ‘cat card’. In some cases exercise on a synaptophore machine may be required.

Everybody must wear the proper refractive correction (glasses or contact lenses). In some cases extra plus power is added to relax the contracting eye muscles. People above 40 would need to wear near correction.

Some important factors in preventing or reducing the symptoms of CVS have to do with the computer and how it is used. This includes lighting conditions, chair comfort, location of reference materials, position of the monitor, and the use of rest breaks.

The working condition should be optimum. The computer screen should be properly placed on the table. Optimally, the computer screen should be 15 to 20 degrees below eye level (about 4 or 5 inches) as measured from the center of the screen and 20 to 28 inches from the eyes. Reference materials and document holder should be placed near the screen. There should not be significant glare from the lights. Sitting position should be comfortable and arms should be properly rested on the table while working.

Regular eye examinations and proper viewing habits can help to prevent or reduce the development of the symptoms of CVS.

If you are have been observing any of the above mentioned symptoms you may contact our eye specialist on 9749-269-359

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