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What is computer vision syndrome?

CVS is a group of eye and vision problems related to extended screen time. People who suffer from CVS tend to have more eye discomfort the longer they look at a screen. Much of the discomfort comes from a lack of lubrication.

The extent to which individuals experience visual symptoms often depends on the level of their visual abilities and the amount of time spent looking at a digital screen. Uncorrected vision problems like farsightedness and astigmatism, inadequate eye focusing or eye coordination abilities, and aging changes of the eyes, such as presbyopia, can all contribute to the development of visual symptoms when using a computer or digital screen device.

Many of the visual symptoms experienced by users are only temporary and will decline after stopping computer work or use of the digital device. However, some individuals may experience continued reduced visual abilities, such as blurred distance vision, even after stopping work at a computer. If nothing is done to address the cause of the problem, the symptoms will continue to recur and perhaps worsen with future digital screen use.

Prevention or reduction of the vision problems associated with Computer Vision Syndrome or Digital Eye Strain involves taking steps to control lighting and glare on the device screen, establishing proper working distances and posture for screen viewing, and assuring that even minor vision problems are properly corrected.
What are the symptoms of CVS?
  • Dry Eyes
  • Headaches
  • Blurred Vision
  • Eyestrain
  • Neck & Shoulder Pain

These symptoms are caused by:

  • Poor lighting
  • Computer screen glare
  • Improper viewing distances
  • Poor posture
  • Uncorrected or unaddressed vision problem

How common is it?

Research shows that between 50 and 90 percent of people (adults and children) who work at a computer screen have at least some symptoms of computer vision syndrome (CVS), including blurred or double vision, dry eyes, eye irritation, and headaches.

On average, Americans spend 7 hours a day looking at a computer screen either at home or at work. As screen time increases, more and more Americans face eye discomfort and CVS.

Is it treatable?

Yes, even people who have an eyeglass or contact lens prescription may find it's not suitable for the specific viewing distances of their computer screen. Dr. Gindorf works with patients to correct any vision problems and also helps adjust their working environment to minimize CVS.

“Companies will spend a million dollars on ergonomic chairs," she says, "but they won’t spend money on vision care. Good optometry can really help people add time to their day. They can get things done faster and more efficiently.”

Information about Computer Vision Syndrome comes from Dr. Gindorf and the American Optometric Association.