Computer vision syndrome is a broad term referring to a number of side effects that occur due to prolonged use of computers, tablets, and other screen based technology. In our society, many people spend their entire workday, roughly 8 hours, staring at a screen. This is becoming more and more common – but the toll that it takes on our eyes is something that we need to consider and accommodate.

What causes computer vision syndrome? 

Computer vision syndrome is caused by various strains that the eyes experience when working on a computer. The angle of the monitor can cause strain, as can glare and frequent refocusing. Simply put, looking at a computer screen is much harder on the eyes than looking at paper. Particularly for people who already have a refractive error, looking at a computer screen all day can lead to strained eyes.

What are the symptoms of computer vision syndrome? 

  • Headaches
  • Dry, tired eyes
  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Blurry vision
  • Eye strain

How is computer vision syndrome treated? 

Treatment for computer vision syndrome varies based upon the specific causes of your strain. A common preventative measure for computer vision syndrome is the 20-20-20 rule. When engaging in computer use, make sure to take a break every 20 minutes, look at an object at least 20 feet away from your computer for at least 20 seconds. This gives your eyes a break and allows them to relax briefly before refocusing on the computer.

Another way to treat computer vision syndrome is to use blue light blocking glasses or filters for your computer. Do computer glasses work? Yes! Computer glasses are designed to help you focus at an intermediate distance, perfect for the distance from your computer chair to the monitor. They are also often coated with a blue-light blocking tint, which will help to prevent eyestrain and fatigue from looking at the screen. Computer vision syndrome glasses should be prescribed by your eye doctor to ensure that the prescription is tailored to your eyes.

What do I do if I think I may have computer vision syndrome?

A visit to your eye doctor can determine whether your symptoms are caused by computer vision syndrome or by another condition. It is helpful to measure the distance that you sit from your computer monitor before an appointment, so that your doctor can properly prescribe computer vision glasses if they are needed. In the mean time, try to limit the amount of time spent in front of a screen and implement the 20-20-20 rule to minimize eyestrain.