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Computer vision syndrome (CVS), also known as digital eye strain, is a modern malady that affects millions of people. As its name implies, it is strongly associated with spending prolonged periods of time – typically seven hours per workday or more – looking at screens. These screens don't necessarily have to be full-sized desktop monitors, either. They can be cellphone, PDA, tablet, or other types of screens as well.
Several symptoms tend to appear together with this syndrome which includes:
Many things are believed to contribute to the development of this condition, including glare, poor lighting, uncorrected vision problems, poor posture, and poor viewing distances. A slowed rate of blinking is also typical, and this contributes to dry eye. Blue light is another possible source of problems. This light is typically generated by computer and other screens, and it has been blamed for worsening dry eye and causing headaches.
The presence of more than one symptom, combined with a history of heavy screen use, is necessary for your optometrist to diagnose CVS. He or she will therefore ask you about your lifestyle, and about symptoms such as headaches and neck pain, as well as testing your eyes.
The most definitive solution to CVS is to stop looking at screens, but for most people, this is a wholly impractical and unwanted course of action. Therefore, other solutions are used instead.
First, if your eye test has revealed the need for vision correction, this will be provided. Often, this is enough to stop most or all of the problems. Trying to force your eyes to focus without glasses or contacts, when such correction is actually needed, causes eye strain and headaches.
Then, you'll be given advice to make your work area more ergonomic. The optometrist will tell you how far away from the screen you should sit, advise you on reducing glare on your screen, and provide other such tips. By optimizing your work area, you'll reduce problems that make screen use hard on your eyes and body.
If dry eye is one of your symptoms, the doctor will prescribe eye drops to help restore the proper moisture levels.
Some doctors of optometry will also advise you to wear glasses with blue light protection. These glasses keep the harsh blue light wavelengths from reaching your eyes. You don't have to have a prescription to wear these glasses.
If your eyes have been bothering you during or after screen time, make an appointment with us here at Val-Uvision in Jacksonville FL today. Our number is 904-701-0223.