CVS: What is Computer Vision Syndrome

If you use a computer more than two hours a day you should know about (CVS) computer vision syndrome. Over one hundred million Americans suffer from computer vision syndrome symptoms and many have no idea what causes them.

Since these symptoms are common to many other causes, it’s easy to overlook something as basic as a computer workstation. While there are some simple remedies for computer vision syndrome, these, too, are not as well known as they should be.

Symptoms and Causes of CVS

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Have you experienced headaches, neck pain, shoulder pain? Have you had any vision problems, such as loss of focusing ability, double or blurred vision?

Are your eyes tired? Do they burn? Do they feel dry and gritty after working at your computer? Is your, or your employee’s work productivity less than it should be?

While all of these symptoms are common to many other conditions, don’t rule out computer vision syndrome too quickly.

Eyes focus differently on computer images than they do on paper because the characters and images are made up of pixels of light. The light intensity varies within each pixel, causing our eyes to constantly refocus.

Reading text on paper doesn’t strain our eyes in this way because the text is fixed with crisp contrast against the paper.

Anyone using a computer can be affected, but those looking at the screen more than two hours a day are most at risk.

Employees and children are increasingly exposed to computer use at work and at school. It’s been shown that employees’ CVS-related productivity loss is reduced significantly when they use computer glasses.

CVS in children can have serious consequences. Children and teenagers are vulnerable to developing progressive nearsightedness from the strain of focusing. Eye fatigue, though less serious, can affect their ability to concentrate and learn.

What Remedies are Available to Treat CVS?

Computer eyestrain is the most prominent component of computer vision syndrome. Neck, shoulder and back pain can occur as well. Remedies are directed at reducing both types of symptoms.

Computer glasses are effective in reducing or eliminating eyestrain. These glasses are designed to stabilize the images perceived by the eyes and reduce fatigue and strain.

While about 30% of computer users don’t seem to suffer from computer vision syndrome, even they could benefit from using computer glasses.

Computer glasses come in single vision or multifocal lenses. In addition to tints, glasses should have anti-reflective coating to help reduce glare.

Depending upon whether you need prescription glasses or not, you can get computer glasses from retailers or from your eye doctor.

Computer ergonomics are important for eliminating neck and back pain. Children should have appropriately sized workstations with screens 18” to 28” distance.

Adults should place their screens 20” to 28” away from their eyes. At that range the center of the screen should be 4-5 inches below eye level.

Your computer keyboard should be at an appropriate height to keep your hands and arms parallel to the floor. If you share a computer with someone, the chair height, and distance and height of the monitor and keyboard should be adjustable and suitable for all users.

Computer vision syndrome productivity in the workplace often drops significantly. It rarely appears that CVS is the cause. Even a small difference from the optimum vision can reduce productivity, resulting in lost income, errors, wasted time and increased worker’s compensation claims.


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