What is Computer Vision Syndrome?  

The average American spends about 7 hours per day in front of a digital screen, according to the American Optometric Association. This impressive amount of screen time can lead to an uncomfortable condition known as computer vision syndrome. Here are five things you need to know about this modern-day health problem.

1. Computer vision syndrome is common.

Computer vision syndrome, also known as digital eye strain, affects kids and adults. Up to 90 percent of computer users experience computer vision syndrome.

2. Symptoms of computer vision syndrome can be disruptive.

Classic signs of computer vision syndrome include headaches, eye fatigue, blurry vision, dry eyes, and neck and shoulder pain. These symptoms are usually temporary, but if left unaddressed they can get worse over time.

3. Causes of computer vision syndrome are usually preventable.

Risk factors for computer vision syndrome include:

  • Frequent scanning and refocusing while looking at a screen
  • Infrequent blinking, which can impair the healthy tear film over our eyes
  • Glare, poor ambient lighting, and high contrast on the screen itself
  • Poor posture and ergonomics

Research also suggests that chronic exposure to excessive amounts of blue light—which is emitted from digital devices like phones, tablets, and computers—may lead to long-term damage to eye tissues and increase the risk of conditions like macular degeneration and cataracts.

4. Uncorrected vision problems can worsen computer vision syndrome.

Refractive errors like astigmatism, farsightedness, nearsightedness, or presbyopia can make computer vision symptoms more pronounced and longer-lasting.

5. An eye doctor can help you avoid computer vision syndrome.

We know it’s not possible to completely unplug from our digital devices. That’s why our Grand Forks optometrist team—led by Dr. Jeff Yunker, Dr. Kari Torkelson, and Dr. Susan Safratowich—are happy to introduce our patients to solutions that can prevent computer vision syndrome. Here are our top recommendations:

  • Keep prescription eyewear up-to-date
  • Improve the ergonomics at your desk
  • Think 20/20/20: after 20 minutes of computer use, look away from your screen for 20 seconds at an object about 20 feet away
  • Ask us about our blue light blocking lenses and lens coatings!

Call the Lifetime Vision Center today at 701.746.6745 to schedule your next eye exam with a Grand Forks optometrist and stop struggling with computer vision syndrome!

How to Protect Your Eyes From Electronic Devices

Electronic devices emit blue light, which can be harmful to your eyes over time. While the rest of the world contains the full spectrum, electronic devices give out predominately blue light. When this light is absorbed into your eyes without the other colors to balance it out, the effects can range from headaches, strained eyes and blurred vision. The long-term effects of blue light on vision have yet to be determined. It’s safe to say, though, that you need to protect your eyes—and your vision—from electronic devices. Here are some easy strategies to implement.

Opt For Reader Tablets Without Blue Light

If you enjoy reading eBooks on your tablet, consider investing in one that has no blue light, or very little of it. There are a few different makers of tablets like these. The added benefit is that they can be used in bright sunlight, too.

Use a Blue Light Blocking App

There are some apps for your phone and computer that change the hue of the screen to block the blue light. The light is similar to natural light and easier on your eyes. You’ll be able to turn the app on or off as desired, but chances are you’ll get used to the different hue and end up using it regularly.

Choose a Traditional Book Now and Then

Instead of always reading books on your devices, opt for a traditional paperback or hardback book now and then. This will help to balance out your reading time between regular books and those that expose your eyes to blue light.

Tilt Your Screen

Protecting your eyes from electronic devices can be as easy as tilting your screed. Instead of having the screen light coming directly at your eyes, you can still read the screen at an angle while the light is emitted away from your eyes. Try it. You’ll notice a vast improvement in the strain on your eyes.

Limit Time on Devices

The most basic thing you can do to protect your eyes is to limit the time spent on devices. Alternate your activities between electronics and other things that don’t require you to be “connected.”

Don’t let electronic devices threaten your eye health. Use these tips on a daily basis to save your eyesight for the long-term.