Computer Vision Syndrome and Digital Devices

by Apr 14, 2019

We spend an increasing number of hours each day in front of screens, from working on a computer to scrolling on our phones.  It is nearly impossible to avoid extended use of digital screens throughout the day. Lengthy exposure to screens from computers, tablets, or phones can cause an array of visual symptoms.  Dryness and irritation, eye strain, double vision, and headaches associated with screen time are symptoms of a condition known as Computer Vision Syndrome. Computer Vision Syndrome, also called Digital Eye Strain, is becoming more common and can have a significant impact on ocular health.


What Is Computer Vision Syndrome?

Computer Vision Syndrome, or CVS, has a range of symptoms that can vary from uncomfortable to unbearable.  Most commonly, people experience dryness and irritation from extended screen use, or feel eyestrain at the end of the day.  In more severe cases, people suffering from CVS will have daily headaches, or notice occasional double vision. Some people have even reported the development of sleep disorders due to prolonged screen time.  If you have noticed symptoms such as these, particularly after using a computer, phone, or tablet, you may be showing signs of Computer Vision Syndrome.

Symptoms of CVS may mean it is time to visit your optometrist.  Your eye doctor can evaluate your symptoms and recommend treatment approaches to reduce discomfort while using screens.  Continue reading to learn about steps that can be taken to address symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome.


Treating Screen-Related Dry Eye

When we spend a long time staring at screens, our blink rate decreases by over 65%.  When we forget to blink while using digital screens our eyes are much more susceptible to dryness and irritation.  For that reason, one of the most effective things you can do to treat dryness related to CVS is to remember to blink.  Beyond that, regularly using artificial tears to keep the front of the eye lubricated can allow for increased comfort during screen use.  Based on the severity of your symptoms, your doctor may recommend a specific type of lubricating eye drop.


The 20-20-20 Rule

Prolonged screen use places a high demand on the visual system, especially the eye’s ability to focus.  This can cause many of the symptoms associated with Computer Vision Syndrome, especially eye strain, headaches, and double vision.  To reduce these symptoms, try a trick called the 20-20-20 rule. This means that every 20 minutes during prolonged screen use, you should look at an object 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.  This short break from digital viewing can relax the focusing system and relieve some of the stress on the visual system.


Try Computer Glasses

In many professions, long hours of computer use are inevitable.  In these cases, specialized computer prescription glasses can help prevent symptoms of CVS.  Your optometrist can write you a prescription to use during long hours of computer work which takes into account factors like your regular glasses prescription, your working distance, and the strength of your visual system.  They may also recommend blue-blocking lenses, which lessen exposure to high-energy blue light emitted from screens.


Our eye doctors and staff at Nittany Eye Care excel in the diagnosis, treatment, and management of computer vision syndrome and dry eye. Call us at (814) 234-2015 or schedule an appointment online.  Our optometrists provide the highest quality eye care services in the State College, PA area.


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