What is CVS?
Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS), or digital eyestrain, includes visual symptoms including eyestrain, ocular discomfort, headaches, dry eye, blurred vision or even double vision. These symptoms arise after prolonged reading or near work on any device that has a screen (ie. smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer).
How can I relieve eye strain from being on the computer all day?
There are a number of techniques that can help alleviate CVS symptoms. One suggestion is computer glasses with anti-glare or blue light technology built into the lenses. Another suggestion is lowering your computer screen to 15 degrees below eye level and roughly an arm’s length away. This also helps with proper sitting posture. Frequent blinking is also an important reminder as it is very common for the blink rate to decrease while we stare at our computer screens. This allows the tears to evaporate from our eye surface more quickly. Be sure your screen brightness is no brighter than your surroundings. I recommend decreasing your screen brightness or using a desk lamp to illuminate the wall behind your computer screen. If fluorescent lighting in your office is causing glare on your screen, a screen glare filter can be used over the computer screen. Lastly, the 20-20-20 rule should be implemented: every 20 minutes look at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This allows a short break for your focusing system.
How do you diagnose CVS?
CVS is not a medical diagnosis, but rather a collection of symptoms. If other causes of these symptoms can be ruled out, it is likely that CVS will be discussed as a potential cause, especially if risk factors are present. Steps will then be taken to address these risk factors in hopes of alleviating CVS-related symptoms.
Can kids have CVS?
Definitely. With increased use of Chromebooks at school and additional TV use and video game time at home, kids are now exposed to more screen time than ever before. Therefore, the possibility of CVS should be considered in symptomatic children.
If I wear glasses or contacts, can I still have CVS?
Yes, CVS is possible with both glasses and contact lenses, though computer vision glasses can provide clear, comfortable vision. Special glasses can also be made to be worn over distance vision contact lenses while using the computer to alleviate CVS symptoms.
For even more helpful information and tips, visit www.aoa.org.