Computer Vision Syndrome: Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

The benefits of modern-day computing and the Internet have led to a group of eye and vision-related problems. Collectively, this group is called Computer Vision Syndrome or CVS. CVS is caused by spending an extended amount of time looking at computer screens and other digital devices.

Between work and home computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones, it’s easy to log a lot of hours staring at a screen. (We’ve certainly experienced it ourselves!)

Looking at a computer screen is different from reading printed pages, and often makes your eyes work harder. For example, screen glare and reflections, low contrast, and poor definition make text difficult to read on a digital display. The way we interact with digital displays, software and Internet pages is also different from “traditional” paper-based reading and writing. And uncorrected vision problems and age-related vision changes can also be contributing factors for CVS.

Symptoms of CVS

Common symptoms that can begin or become worse due to CVS include:

  • Eyestrain
  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry and irritated eyes
  • Neck and shoulder pain

When patients describe these symptoms, we use a comprehensive exam to check for visual clarity, focus, alignment, and movement issues.

Treatment and Preventive Measures for CVS

Reducing the stresses that build up with prolonged computer and digital device use is key to treating CVS. A combination of treatment and preventative measures can help protect and improve your eyesight. For example:

Find your sweet spot. Our eyes naturally look out and downward. To accommodate this, position your computer monitor so the center of your screen is a few inches below eye level, and 20 to 28 inches from your eyes.

Adjust your lighting. Give yourself ample lighting, but position your digital screen and your light sources to avoid glare.

Use anti-glare screens. When you have little or no control over your surrounding light, use an anti-glare filter over your computer screen. If glare is a problem at work, ask your employer to supply an anti-glare filter for your computer.

Take breaks and blink frequently. Allow your eyes to refocus at a distance and relax by looking around the room every 20 minutes. To prevent eyestrain, rest your eyes for 15 minutes every two hours. And be sure to blink! It helps keep your eyes moist and reduces your chances for developing dry eyes.

Your eyes work hard for you. Give them the rest and support they need to stay healthy. And if you’re concerned about CVS for yourself or a loved one, please call us to schedule an appointment. We’re here to help!

Nothing in this article is to be construed as medical advice, nor is it intended to replace the recommendations of a medical professional. For specific questions, please contact our office.

Dry Eye Syndrome: Symptoms and Treatment

dry eyesDry eye syndrome is a common condition that we see most often in older adults. We call it “keratoconjunctivitis sicca.” You can call it DES, or simply dry eye.

For millions of people, dry eye is a condition in which the eyes don’t produce enough tears to adequately lubricate and nourish the surface of the eye (the cornea) and surrounding tissues. Dry eyes can also be caused because the eyes produce poor quality tears that can’t do the job they were intended for.

Why Your Tears are Important

Tear production directly impacts the health and comfort of your eyes. Your tear glands constantly produce small amounts of tears, creating a smooth surface over the cornea. This constant lubrication is essential so your eyelids can open and close over your eyes without causing irritation or soreness.

Your tears also:

  • Reduce the risk of an eye infection
  • Wash away dirt and debris in your eyes
  • Keep the surface of your eyes smooth and clear

Symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome

Common symptoms of dry eye syndrome include:

  • Irritation
  • Itching
  • Redness (“bloodshot eyes”)
  • An increased sensitivity to light

If you think, “Hey, that’s how I felt last week,” think back to what you were doing. We’ve all had red, dry eyes at some point. Were you in a hot, windy environment? Working in an office with air constantly blowing onto your face? Or spending too much time staring at a computer, cellphone or TV screen?

A constant breeze can dry out your eyes. Staring intently at digital displays of a TV screen can cause you to not blink as often as you should; when that happens, your eyes don’t get the moisture they need.

If you weren’t trekking across the Sahara Desert (or watching a long movie about it on TV), and you’ve noticed that your eyes feel dry more often than they used to, please let us know. We can schedule an appointment to help determine if you have dry eye and what treatment options are right for you.

Treatments for Dry Eye Syndrome

While common, dry eye syndrome isn’t something you’ll simply “get over,” like the common cold. Instead, we can prescribe one or more treatments for you to help alleviate the symptoms.

Treatments may include:

  • Applying eye drops. If your eyes are chronically dry, then applying moisture by using artificial tears throughout your day may help. Splashing water in your face won’t do the trick. That’s because your tears are more than just water. They also contain other ingredients that help fight infection and lubricate the eye to keep it moist.
  • Ointments and other medications. If you need a little help getting those tears to start flowing, we may be able to prescribe medication to help.
  • Conserving your natural tears. To keep natural tears in your eyes longer, the small ducts that allow tears to drain can be blocked with tiny silicone or gel–like plugs that can later be removed, if needed. A surgical procedure is also available to permanently close the tear ducts.

If you’re concerned about dry eye, or think you or a loved one may have the condition, give us a call to schedule an appointment. We’re here to help!

Nothing in this article is to be construed as medical advice, nor is it intended to replace the recommendations of a medical professional. For specific questions, please contact our office.

Adapted with permission from: Dry Eye: What Is It and What Can You Do To Help?CooperVision.com.