Computer Vision Syndrome

A term coined to describe a series of symptoms associated with computer use, including eye discomfort, pain, dryness and irritation. This syndrome has two primary components, including a dry eye component and a mechanical/physical component.  Computer vision syndrome is very common in the population and despite the name it is not proprietary to computer use. Similar symptoms are seen when people undergo extensive periods of reading, studying, and sometimes even television watching.

Dry Eye Component of Computer Vision Syndrome

Many eye care practitioners believe that dryness is caused by a decreased blink rate during computer use. Why is blinking important? Blinking serves to “resurface” the tear layer on the front surface of the eye. The newly applied tear layer serves to protect the front part of the eye as well as create a smooth optical surface so light can be transmitted clearly. If we blink less the tear film breaks down and dehydrates the front of the eye, causing dryness and blurred vision.

How do I managed it?

One of the easiest ways to decrease the symptoms of ocular discomfort is to employ the 20-20-20 Rule. This rule suggests looking at an object at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds, for every 20 minutes of computer use. This method is extremely simple and has been proven to help improve symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome.

Another way is to use artificial tears during periods of extensive computer work. The tears can help prevent the eyes from drying out while improving your quality of vision during computer use. Consult your Eye Care practitioner to determine which type of artificial tear would work best for you.

Mechanical Component of Computer Vision Syndrome

The mechanical component is often seen with people who wear bifocals to see up close, and is caused by the necessity to tilt one’s head to view the computer screen through the near part of the bifocal. As you can imagine tilting your head throughout the day will lead to neck and back discomfort.

How do I Manage the Mechanical Component of Computer Vision Syndrome?

There are two ways to address this syndrome. The first focuses on the ergonomics of your work station. Consider redesigning your work space so that your computer monitor sits lower on your desk, decreasing the need to tilt your head up. This is difficult since many of us have a small work space to begin with and may find it difficult to adjust our monitor accordingly.

The second option focuses on lens design. Why not move the bifocal up instead of moving the monitor down? By utilizing current lens technology we are able to design progressive lenses specifically for work, preventing a complete redesign of your workspace and giving you another reason to pick out a great frame. These lenses are typically a fraction of the cost of a typical progressive lens design.

Related articles:

Dry Eye Treatments and Contact Lenses for Dry Eye 

Types of Computer Glasses