Most of us now spend an appreciable amount of time using a computer, tablet, or smart phone for work or recreation. Computer vision syndrome is a term that was coined to describe eye and vision discomfort resulting from screen time.
Symptoms of computer vision syndrome include headaches, blurred vision, sore burning eyes, watery eyes, and ocular and general fatigue.
Many of these symptoms are related to the fact that the human eye is not well adapted to hold focus at one distance for extended periods of time. In addition, reduction in blink rates and widening of the eye as we stare at the screen can create surface dryness on the eye. Variations in the screen brightness as the image changes cause the iris musculature of the eye to work overtime to regulate light getting into the eye thru the pupil, thus causing fatigue.
Help and relief from computer vision syndrome may involve optical correction with glasses for computer work, often incorporating antireflection and blue light blocking filters to optimize vision. Adjusting workstation lighting and screen position can also be helpful. Increased awareness of blinking and taking regular breaks from the screen to look to a farther distance relaxes focusing muscles momentarily and can help avoid eye muscle fatigue.
If you suffer from computer vision syndrome, discuss it with your eyecare professional to help find a personalized solution to your symptoms.
--Dr. Lisa Scharf, BSc, OD