Computer Vision

Computer Vision Syndrome Causes & Treatment

Do you find yourself squinting or suffering from headaches and dry eye after extended computer use? If you experience discomfort or vision strain after prolonged use of computers, smartphones, tablets, and e-readers, you could have a condition known as computer Vision Syndrome, also referred to as “digital eye strain”. Computer vision syndrome is not one specific problem, but instead encompasses a range of vision concerns associated with prolonged screen exposure. Common symptoms include eyestrain, headaches, blurry vision, and dry eyes. You may also experience neck and shoulder pain due to poor posture while viewing the screen. Computer vision syndrome can worsen existing vision problems, including farsightedness and astigmatism. Our optometrists Brian Gill can help relieve these symptoms and protect your vision.

Blurry Vision, Headaches and Dry Eyes are Common Symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome

While squinting at a smartphone screen or staring for long hours at a computer screen may seem like a normal part of life these days, these activities can cause serious eyestrain. They can also worsen existing vision problems. While symptoms may appear mild at first, without proactive care and intervention, vision can worsen. Poor lighting, glare and even the angle of a computer screen can exacerbate computer vision syndrome problems. In addition to blurry vision and eyestrain, many patients with computer vision syndrome also suffer from neck, shoulder and upper back strain. This occurs when patients crane their necks forward to better view a computer screen or tilt their heads downward to look at a smartphone. The resulting angle puts extra weight and strain on the cervical spine, causing pain.

Treatment starts by identifying the cause for your visual discomfort. In many cases, our optometrists are able to suggest simple lifestyle changes that can make a substantial difference. For example, patients who re-adjust the position of their computer screens and improve office lighting can reduce glare and eliminate prolonged squinting at the screen. Our optometrists also encourage patients to take regular breaks during the day to realign posture and give the eyes a break. Making a conscious effort to blink helps to relieve dry eye discomfort.

Our eye doctors use several different tests to measure the impact of computer vision syndrome on your eye health and vision. These tests include a visual acuity test to measure the quality of current vision. Our eye focus and coordination tests measure how well your eyes work together. Refraction tests will determine if a change in your current eyeglass or contacts prescription is necessary.

Do not ignore symptoms of vision discomfort or assume that blurry vision or headaches are “normal” after prolonged computer usage. If you also have a vision condition such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism or presbyopia, ignoring your computer vision problems will only exacerbate your discomfort and further damage your vision. Simple postural changes, lighting improvement, and screen position may significantly reduce your discomfort.

For more information on computer vision syndrome treatment options, schedule an appointment with Dr. Gill today. Call 605-723-3937.