Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Computer Vision Syndrome

Some 100 million American workers are affected by computer eyestrain, a symptom of Computer Vision Syndrome.  March is Eye Safety in the Workplace month, 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.

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.

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.

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.