Tired, burning eyes; headache; blurred vision? It might be Computer Vision Syndrome

7/22/2011

As our use and dependence on computers increases in the home and workplace, more and more people are being diagnosed with Computer Vision Syndrome.

First coined in 2005, Computer Vision Syndrome, or CVS, is a type of eye strain caused by prolonged computer use. Charles Colombo, M.D., Beaumont ophthalmologist, says, "It is perfectly possible for people with CVS to perform normal daily activities, such as driving, reading, watching TV, etc., without any problems, however, computer use might be challenging."

Symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome include:

  • sore, tired, burning eyes
  • dry eyes
  • watery eyes
  • blurred or double vision
  • headache
  • sore neck or back
  • shimmering of monitor
  • sensitivity to light

Although CVS is not dangerous to your eye health, it can impact work efficiency. Luckily, you can treat it without surgery by following these simple steps:

  • contact your ophthalmologist to get an eye exam
  • make sure that you have properly fitted glasses
  • ask to be examined for dry eye and muscle imbalance
  • place your computer screen 20 to 28 inches from your eyes
  • adjust the angle of your computer screen to 10 percent below your point of fixation.
Charles Colombo, M.D.

"In addition to these steps, patients should follow the 20/20/20 rule," says Dr. Colombo. "The rule states that patients should rest their eyes every 20 minutes for 20 seconds and look at an object 20 feet away," he explains. Dr. Colombo also recommends to:

  • consciously blink, as studies have shown that when using a computer, blinking decreases
  • use a newer monitor; an older monitor may lose contrast and clarity which can produce eye strain
  • avoid overhead lighting or keep it to a minimum, as it can produce a glare on the computer screen

"Many people are not aware of the importance of getting a proper eye exam prior to extended computer use, which is why public education is very important once the symptoms appear," says Dr. Colombo.

If you believe you or someone you know may have CVS, visit your ophthalmologist as soon as possible. The sooner you are examined, the sooner you will be able to start your treatment to alleviate your symptoms so that you can be back online without eye strain.