Eye Health

Computer Vision Syndrome - the Uprising Monster of Eye Problems

Written by
Dr. Abhishek Onkar
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.

Published on Oct 28, 2013 and last reviewed on Jul 01, 2019   -  2 min read

Abstract

Abstract

Are you having headaches and dry eye after using the computer? These might be signs of computer vision syndrome. Read the article to know more.

Computer Vision Syndrome - the Uprising Monster of Eye Problems

What Is Computer Vision Syndrome?

Computer vision syndrome (CVS) refers to a plethora of symptoms that one may suffer from due to extended work involving focusing on computer screens.

When to Suspect CVS?

If you are spending more than four to six hours in front of computer screens with any of or a combination of any of the below-mentioned symptoms, you may be suffering from CVS:

  • Eyestrain.
  • Foreign body sensation in the eyes.
  • Fatigue.
  • Headaches/brow aches.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Dry eyes.
  • Neck pain.
  • Shoulder pain.
  • Grittiness in eyes.
  • Burning sensation in eyes.

How to Diagnose CVS?

If one suffers from the problems described above, an ophthalmic examination should be undertaken to make a proper diagnosis and exclude other masquerading diseases. The basics of an eye examination would be:

  • Elicit a complete history: to record symptoms, with emphasis on hours of work on computers and hours of near-work. Also, determine the various causes which may be causing the symptoms like health problems, medications, environmental factors that may be contributing to the symptoms related to computer use such as:
  1. Refractive errors.
  2. Alignment of the computer screen.
  3. Seating posture.
  4. External lighting.
  5. Poor lighting.
  6. Glare on the computer screen.
  7. Viewing distances.
  8. Multi-factorial causation.
  • Recording visual acuity.
  • Deriving the best corrected visual acuity (BCVA) after performing a dilated retinoscopy and post-mydriatic test.
  • Check eye movements and coordination.

How to Treat CVS?

Consultation with an ophthalmologist and ergonomics play the major role in alleviating this treacherous condition. One can follow these methods to get rid of CVS:

  1. General ophthalmic precautions:
    • Anti-glare and anti-reflective coating tinted glasses while using computers.
    • Pen push-ups and vision therapy with proper eye-movement, coordination exercises.
  2. Computer display adjustments: Monitor display settings like brightness, screen resolution can help reduce eye strain and fatigue. Fortify it with anti-glare screens.
  3. It is the 20-20-20 rule folks!: After every 20 minutes of near work, take a 20-second break to focus at an object (a wall-clock for example) 20 feet away. Blink meanwhile and keep your eyes moving.
  4. Appropriate monitor distance and height: approximately 25 inches from eyes and 5 inches below eye level.
  5. Ophthalmic consultation: Get your eyes tested annually at least or more regularly if you already use glasses and suffer from the symptoms.
  6. Lights on: Keep monitors away from external sources of lights to avoid erroneous lighting and glare and maintain proper indoor lighting.
  7. Be a vertebrate and keep your spine in position: Comfortable chairs with spine support should be used. Chair height should be adjusted, so your feet rest flat on the floor. Your wrists should not rest on the keyboard when typing.
  8. Blink: Last but not the least, blink regularly to avoid dry eyes. Put a stick note near your work-station indicating “BLINK.” It helps immensely.

Frequently Asked Questions


1.

Is Computer Vision Syndrome permanent?

Computer vision syndrome does not cause permanent damage. Headaches, double or blurred vision, neck and shoulder pain go away after a few hours of stop using digital screens like mobile phone, TV, tablet, etc.

2.

What causes computer vision syndrome?

Computer vision syndrome is caused by:
- Glare from digital screens.
- Poor lighting in the room.
- Watching television from an improper viewing distance.
- Untreated vision problems.

3.

How to prevent computer vision syndrome?

Some tips to prevent computer vision syndrome are:
- The computer screen should be 15 to 20 degrees below the eye level.
- Close the drapes and windows to avoid glare.
- Use a screen glare filter.
- Blink frequently.
- After two hours of continuous use, rest your eyes for 15 minutes.
- Look into the distance for 20 seconds for every 20 minutes of computer viewing.

4.

What are the symptoms of computer vision syndrome?

The symptoms include:
- Headaches.
- Double or blurred vision.
- Dry eyes.
- Red eyes.
- Neck pain.
- Shoulder pain.
- Eyestrain.

5.

How do you get rid of computer vision syndrome?

The treatment options include:
- Wearing lenses or glasses to correct your vision.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Use a humidifier.
- Use lubricating eye drops.
- And follow the already mentioned tips to prevent CVS.

6.

Do computer screens damage your eyes?

Constantly staring into a computer screen might cause temporary eye symptoms. Some of the symptoms are eyestrain, headaches, itching, watering eyes, dry eyes, blurred vision, and burning sensation.

7.

Does screen time affect your eyesight?

Recent studies have shown that screen time as such will not affect your eyesight. It might cause temporary symptoms called computer vision syndrome, which reverses after a few hours of resting your eyes.

8.

Is Night mode better for eyes?

Yes. The night mode reduces the blue light and overall screen brightness. This reduces eyestrain, prevents retinal damage and dry eye.

9.

How long does computer vision syndrome last?

The symptoms of CVS does not last long after you have given some rest to your eyes. But it can lead to less productivity at work and make you less alert during driving.

Last reviewed at:
01 Jul 2019  -  2 min read

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