Computer Vision Syndrome in the News

10:23 AM

Apparently a lot of people want to get in on the conversation of computer-induced eye discomfort this month.  For more reading material, check out this article in the Washington Post.  Another article out this week from USA Today reports 70% of Americans complain of ocular issues with computer and digital device user.  With so many people affected, computer vision syndrome or "digital eye strain" which is a new term for the same symptoms that is being used more recently is a growing topic of conversation. Leaders from both the optometry and ophthalmology communities are featured with their perspectives on why our eyes feel so strained and tired after continuous computer use.

Take Home Points:

  • Computer Vision Syndrome is defined as the eye fatigue, strain, discomfort, and dryness that results from prolonged computer use.  Typically it is associated with 2 hours of continuous screen time or longer.

  • Why do our eyes hate computers so much?  We blink about 50% less frequently at the computer screen than when in natural conversation.  Even compared to blink rates when reading paper materials, reading on an LCD screen is much lower.  Blinking is how your tear film coats and protects the eyes, so the less you blink, the drier your eyes will become.

  • Why do our eyes feel so tired?  They are working to focus at near.  Move your screen back to at least 18 inches from your face for improved comfort.  I have many of my patients use 26 to 30 inch distance between themselves and the computer (especially for large monitor or 2 screen set ups).  The further distance between yourself and the screen, the less your eyes will have to work to focus.
More and more of us are spending long hours on the computer, and the topic of computer vision syndrome is only gaining more attention nationally.  As optometrists we are leading the discussion, so as new ergonomic approaches, dry eye therapies, and computer-friendly glasses options come to market, your eye doctor will be your source for help!  No one has to suffer through the computer day -- tell your friends and family if they are long-hour computer users there are ways that their eye doctor can make their day better.

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