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What is Computer Vision Syndrome?

As users spend more time gazing into computer screens of all sizes during their waking hours, doctors say they’re seeing more patients complaining of what’s known as Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS).

What are the symptoms of CVS?

The most common symptoms associated with Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) are: eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision, dry eyes, stress, redness of the eye, rubbing of the eye, and insufficient focus, neck and shoulder pain.

According to a New York Times study, 31 percent of people older than 18 spend at least five hours a day on their smart phones, tablets and computers.

The syndrome differs from book fatigue because of the handheld devices themselves. These devices have their own light sources. And because they do, it puts a different source of stress on the eye.

What causes Computer Vision Syndrome?

Viewing a computer screen often makes the eyes work harder. As a result, the unique characteristics and high visual demands of computer viewing make many individuals susceptible to the development of vision-related symptoms.

Uncorrected vision problems can increase the severity of Computer Vision Syndrome symptoms.

Viewing a computer screen is different than reading a printed page. Often the letters on the computer screen are not as precise or sharply defined, the level of contrast of the letters to the background is reduced, and the presence of glare and reflections on the screen may make viewing difficult.

Viewing distances and angles used for computer work are also often different from those commonly used for other reading or writing tasks. As a result, the eye focusing and eye movement requirements for computer viewing can place additional demands on the visual system.

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. Some people tilt their heads at odd angles because their glasses aren't designed for looking at a computer. Or they bend toward the screen in order to see it clearly. Their postures can result in muscle spasms or pain in the neck, shoulder or back.

In most cases, symptoms of CVS occur because the visual demands of the task exceed the visual abilities of the individual to comfortably perform them. At greatest risk for developing CVS are those persons who spend two or more continuous hours at a computer every day.

How is Computer Vision Syndrome diagnosed?

Computer Vision Syndrome can be diagnosed through a comprehensive eye examination. Patient history to determine any symptoms the patient is experiencing and the presence of any general health problems, medications taken, or environmental factors that may be contributing to the symptoms related to computer use.

How is Computer Vision Syndrome treated?

Solutions to computer-related vision problems are varied. However, CVS can usually be alleviated by obtaining regular eye care and making changes in how you view the computer screen.

To avoid eyestrain on smart phones, tablets and computers, the 20/20/20 rule: is recommended Every 20 minutes, look at a distance of 20 feet for 20 seconds,.

That gives an opportunity for the eye to rest, a break for the muscle focus and allows them to work at the task more efficiently and for a longer period of time.

The eye-breaks allow computer users to use the devices as long as they’d like without suffering any of the effects of Computer Vision Syndrome.

Doctors recommend toddlers not use electronic devices and that older children use the devices for no more than two hours a day.

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