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What is Computer Vision Syndrome?

woman computer glasses laptopThe 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 optometrists 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!