Computer Vision Syndrome and Computer Glasses

This seemed timely, given Lauren's new job at Six-Apart and how much time most of us spend in front of computer monitors!

Computer Vision Syndrome and Computer Glasses

By Larry K. Wan, O.D.

Who Is Affected by Computer Vision Syndrome?

More than 143 million Americans work on a computer each day, with 88% of them suffering from computer eyestrain, according to estimates. In addition, nearly 54 million children work at a computer each day either at home or in school.* Prolonged computer use can stress a child's eyes and impact his or her vision development.

What Are the Symptoms of CVS?

If you or your child spend more than two hours each day in front of a computer screen, you likely experience some degree of computer vision syndrome. CVS includes:

  • Headaches
  • Loss of focus
  • Burning/tired eyes
  • Double/blurred vision
  • Neck and shoulder pains

What Causes Computer Vision Syndrome?

CVS is caused by our eyes and brain reacting differently to characters on the screen than they do to printed characters. Our eyes have little problem focusing on most printed material, which is characterized by dense black characters with well-defined edges. Healthy eyes can easily maintain focus on the printed page. Characters on a computer screen, however, don't have this contrast or well-defined edges. These characters (pixels) are brightest at the center and diminish in intensity toward their edges. This makes it very difficult for our eyes to maintain focus and remain fixed onto these images. Instead our eyes drift out to a point called the "resting point of accommodation" or RPA.

Our eyes involuntarily move to the RPA, and then strain to regain focus on the screen. This continuous flexing of the eyes' focusing muscles creates fatigue and the burning, tired-eyes feeling that is so common after long hours at the computer.

What Can I Do About It?

The solution is simple: see an eyecare professional that specializes in computer vision care. In most cases, standard reading glasses or over-the-counter readers are not accurate enough, because viewing a computer is usually at a different distance (18"-28") than reading distance (16"-21"). Once an eye doctor accurately diagnoses your computer vision problem and determines your correct computer working distances, it's a simple matter to prescribe computer eyeglasses that will allow you to work comfortably and productively.

Also, please read about studies that show computer eyewear can increase computer worker productivity significantly, with cost savings for employers who provide the eyewear.


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About mikeymikez

Interested in music, film, good books and Korean culture.
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