What is computer vision syndrome?

Computer vision syndrome or CVS is a condition that affects the eyes when they have been focusing on computer screens or display devices such as tablets over long, uninterrupted periods of time. Often temporary, computer vison syndrome affects approximately 90% of people who spend three or more hours a day at the computer.

For most, staring at a computer screen for long periods of the day has become the norm and part of our workday.  And with that, many of us experience eye strain.  Computer vision syndrome is the medical term for that eye strain.

Sufferers of computer vision syndrome (CVS) can experience, headaches, neck pain, redness of the eyes and dry eyes as well as blurred vision and polyopia which is where the retina forms multiple images of the same object.

Here are a few tips on how to relieve eye strain or computer vision syndrome (CVS)

  • Give your eyes a break.

Charles Babumba, the leading Optometrist at City Eyes, recommends looking away from your screen every 20 – 30 mins to give your eyes a rest.  Focus on an object up to 20ft away or look out the window for a few a minutes. Even resting your eyes up to 20 seconds can have positive effects.

  • Change the layout of your desk.

Adjusting things such as screen levels and colour have shown benefits on restless eyes and CVS.  Try adjusting your screen to ensure it stays just below eye level and approximately 30 inches away from your face and adjust the brightness to a level that suits you best.

  • Blink more!

Now, this may sound obvious but when we concentrate on things such as computer screens, we tend to blink less which causes the eyes to become dry and irritated.  Blink often to help lubricate the eyes and keep them from drying out.  You can also use lubricating eye drops.

Computer vision syndrome is an often temporary condition and it can affect some more than others.  Take regular breaks from your computer and try to ensure your eyes stay well lubricated. If your symptoms or conditions worsen, speak with your optometrist who will be able to advise you on what to do to help alleviate any computer vision problems you may be experiencing.

Your optometrist will be able to determine whether you should be wearing glasses or contact lenses and will also be able to determine whether you need glasses for just computer based work or permanently; and whether these should be single or bifocal lenses or special lenses to help with the glare from the screen.

Don’t put off having your eyes tested as your eyes don’t normally hurt like the rest of our body does when something is wrong. Have regular eyes test every two years and always discuss any eye pains especially if you regularly work on a computer.