Q: What are the symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS)?

A: If you or your child spend more than two hours per day in front of a computer screen, it’s likely you will experience some degree of computer vision syndrome. Symptoms of CVS include:

• Headaches
• Loss of focus
• Burning eyes
• Tired eyes
• Red eyes
• Double vision
• Eye twitching
• Blurred vision
• Neck and shoulder pain

Q: What causes computer vision syndrome?

A: Computer eye strain and computer vision syndrome are caused by our eyes and brain reacting differently to characters on a computer screen than they do to printed characters. Our eyes have little problem focusing on printed material that has dense black characters with well-defined edges. But characters on a computer screen don’t have the same degree of contrast and definition.

Words and images on a computer screen are created by combinations of tiny points of light (pixels), which are brightest at the center and diminish in intensity toward their edges. This makes it more difficult for our eyes to maintain focus on them. Instead, our eyes want to drift to a reduced level of focusing 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 the fatigue and eye strain that commonly occur during and after computer use.

Q: Will glare screens prevent CVS?

A: Anti-glare filters for computer screens may increase comfort somewhat, but they will not solve all your computer vision problems. These filters only reduce glare from reflections on the computer screen and do not reduce the visual problems related to the constant refocusing of your eyes when you work at a computer.

In order to reduce computer-related eye strain effectively, you may need computer eyewear to help your eyes focus on your screen more comfortably. Also, anti-reflective coating is highly recommended for computer eyeglasses. Anti-reflective (AR) coating reduces reflections on the front and back surfaces of eyeglass lenses that cause glare and interfere with your ability to focus on images on your screen.

Q: Does every computer user need computer glasses?

A: With studies suggesting that most computer users experience some level of eye discomfort from computer work, it’s reasonable to say that most people who work on a computer more than a couple hours daily could benefit from computer eyewear. If you experience tired eyes, overall fatigue or discomfort when working at your computer, schedule a computer vision exam. Your eye doctor can help you decide if computer eyeglasses are right for you.

Q: If I don’t have symptoms of CVS, do I still need computer eyewear?

A: Maybe. According to a study at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry, even computer users who are not experiencing computer vision syndrome symptoms might benefit from computer glasses. The study found that computer workers with no visual complaints often experience reduced productivity and accuracy at the computer. So even if you don’t notice eye strain or other symptoms of CVS, it’s a good idea to get an eye exam from a computer vision specialist if you spend a good amount of time each day in front of a computer.

Q: Will my reading glasses work at the computer?

A: Reading glasses usually are not the best solution for computer use. Eyeglasses prescribed for reading typically will optimize your vision at a distance of 35cm to 40cm from your eyes, which is considered the standard reading distance. But for the greatest comfort, your computer screen should be positioned farther away — at a distance of 50cm to 60cm inches from your eyes. For the best vision at this distance, a different eyeglass prescription is usually required.

Very important: Always make sure you discuss and make decisions about your eye care based upon a formal appointment with your optician.

For more information and to book and eye examination please contact us:
McKenna & Scott Pinelands
Tel: 021 531 1953
pinelands@mckennascott.com