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Computer Vision Syndrome: What it is, Causes, Symptoms, and Prevention

Updated: Sep 24, 2023

In today’s digital world, many people spend hours looking at computer screens, smartphones, tablets, and other electronic devices. While this technology has revolutionized how we work, learn, and communicate, it has also led to a new health concern known as Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS).

CVS, or Digital Eye Strain, is a group of eye and vision-related problems arising from prolonged electronic device use. This condition affects people of all ages who spend more than two hours a day in front of a computer screen or other electronic device.

headache with computer use

What is Computer Vision Syndrome?

Computer Vision Syndrome is a complex condition that includes a variety of vision and eye-related problems caused by prolonged exposure to digital devices. When we look at a screen, our eyes must work harder to focus and track text, images, and other visual stimuli. As a result, the visual demands of digital devices can cause eye fatigue, dry eyes, blurred vision, and other symptoms collectively referred to as CVS.

Symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome

The symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome can vary depending on the individual and the severity of the condition. However, some common symptoms include:

  1. Eye strain: Feeling of discomfort or tiredness in the eyes.

  2. Headaches: Frequent headaches, especially around the temples or forehead, can be a sign of CVS.

  3. Blurred vision: Blurred or double vision can occur after prolonged use of digital devices.

  4. Dry eyes: Staring at screens can reduce the number of times we blink, which can cause dry eyes.

  5. Neck and shoulder pain: Poor posture can cause neck and shoulder pain.

sign of computer vision syndrome

Causes of Computer Vision Syndrome

Several factors contribute to the development of Computer Vision Syndrome, including:

  1. Poor lighting: When using digital devices in poorly lit environments, our eyes have to work harder to focus and adjust to the screen's brightness. This can cause eye strain, headaches, and neck pain.

  2. Poor posture: Sitting in front of a computer for extended periods can lead to poor posture, which can cause neck and shoulder pain, headaches, and eye strain.

  3. Glare and reflections: The glare from windows or other light sources can cause eye strain and discomfort. Reflections from screens can also contribute to eye fatigue and discomfort.

  4. Blue light: Digital screens emit blue light, which can disrupt our circadian rhythm and make it harder to fall asleep at night. Exposure to blue light at night has been linked to sleep problems, fatigue, and other health concerns.

  5. Binocular Vision Dysfunction: Eyes are misaligned or improperly focusing, leading to difficulty creating a single, clear image. This can result in various symptoms, such as headaches, double vision, and difficulty concentrating.

Here are some ways that vision therapy can help with Computer Vision Syndrome:

Vision therapy is a type of physical therapy for the eyes and brain that can help individuals with various visual problems, including those associated with Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS). Vision therapy aims to improve the efficiency and comfort of visual function, helping individuals better process and interpret visual information.

  1. Eye tracking exercises aim to improve the ability of the eyes to track moving objects accurately.

  2. Accommodation exercises help to improve the eyes' ability to focus on objects at different distances.

  3. Visual-motor integration exercises aim to improve the coordination between the eyes and the body's movements.

  4. Binocular vision exercises aim to improve the ability of the eyes to work together as a team.

  5. Near-point stress reduction exercises aim to reduce the stress on the eyes caused by prolonged near-point tasks, such as reading or using a computer.

  6. Sensory-motor integration exercises: These exercises aim to improve the integration of visual and sensory information.

By improving the visual system's functioning, vision therapy can help to reduce the symptoms of CVS, such as eye strain, headaches, and blurred vision. Vision therapy can also improve visual comfort and increase visual efficiency, making it easier and more comfortable to use digital devices for longer periods.

If you are experiencing symptoms of CVS, it is essential to speak to a developmental optometrist to determine if an underlying binocular vision dysfunction is contributing to your CVS. A Binocular Vision Evaluation will determine if vision therapy is appropriate for you. If so, they can develop a personalized treatment plan tailored to your needs and goals.

correct visual posture


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