Computer Vision Syndrome, also referred to as CVS or Digital Eye Strain, describes a group of eye symptoms and vision-related problems that result from prolonged “screen-time” use of electronic devices, such as computers, tablets, digital notepads, e-readers, smartphones, cell-phones, etc. Many individuals experience eye discomfort, vision problems and/or headaches when viewing digital screens for extended periods.
For many individuals, symptoms and levels of discomfort can become problematic and an eye examination with a vision specialist is advisable. Proper diagnosis and help are available. We are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of Computer Vision Syndrome. We are also experts in the detection and treatment of other underlying visual conditions that can cause or be mistaken for Computer Vision Syndrome.
Symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome
Common Symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome are eyestrain, headaches, ocular pain, blurry vision, dry eyes, and neck or shoulder pain. However, these same symptoms can occur with many other visual conditions and even with other medical conditions. This is why a comprehensive vision examination and proper diagnosis is so important.
NOTE: these symptoms could occur in a person who wears corrective lenses or in a person who has 20/20 eyesight and wears no eyeglasses. The wrong or right prescription lenses are not always the cause or the remedy to these symptoms. Some vision problems can not be resolved by standard eyeglasses or contact lenses or eye surgery.
Diagnosis of Computer Vision Syndrome
A person can pass a 20/20 eye test and still have Computer Vision Syndrome or other undetected vision problems. Computer Vision Syndrome can only be diagnosed through a comprehensive eye examination with a vision specialist. The special eye and vision testing will focus on assessing the individual’s visual function at the viewing distances for the computer or other digital device working distances. The comprehensive eye exam will also include testing for any undetected and/or untreated vision problems that can contribute to or be mistaken for Computer Vision Syndrome.
Can Other Undetected and/or Untreated Vision Problems be a Factor or Co-factor?
Absolutely. There a number of possibilities here. For example, symptoms during digital device use could make it seem like the person has a case of Computer Vision Syndrome when, in fact, they have another diagnosis altogether. Or, other examples, the demands of excessive computer and digital device use could cause a person to develop a new visual problem or aggravate/uncover an underlying undetected and uncorrected visual problem that is treatable by a vision specialist.
Common underlying uncorrected vision problems that can come with or mimic Computer Vision Syndrome could be untreated farsightedness, astigmatism, convergence insufficiency, eye tracking or eye teaming disorders, intermittent strabismus, undetected lazy eye (amblyopia) and/or other eye / vision problems. In addition, other health problems or even normal growth and aging can cause changes in our vision. This is why regular vision examinations with proper diagnosis and treatment are so important.
Treatment of Computer Vision Syndrome
Treatment depends on the diagnosis and whether there are other visual conditions present. Treatments can include corrective lenses, Vision Therapy, and/or behavioral changes. There is no medication or surgery for Computer Vision Syndrome.
Computer Vision Syndrome and Dry Eyes
Did you know that looking at a digital screen can slow your blink rate considerably and this can lead to dry eye conditions? Your eye doctor will carefully look at the health of your eye during the evaluation for dry eye conditions. Unfortunately, the use of eye drops can’t prevent Computer Vision Syndrome and it can’t eliminate all of the symptoms either.
Dry eye conditions or eye discomfort can also be caused by many other eye health and general health conditions. If you are experiencing discomfort with dry eyes, it is important to seek proper eye evaluation and care. There could be an underlying visual or health condition. Call us!
Computer Vision Syndrome and Contact Lenses
Due to the increased blink rate and dry eye conditions, some contact lens wearers who spend long viewing hours on screens choose to wear eyeglasses instead of contact lenses on the job or at school, etc. Our doctors work with the individual to customize their correction to their preferences as well as the demands of their occupation, hobbies, lifestyle, etc. We care about your ease, comfort, and success. Call us!
What is Vision Therapy?
To learn about some of the vision problems that can cause and/or be associated with Computer Vision Syndrome, see:
- Convergence Insufficiency, Eye Tracking Problems, Visual Learning Disability
- Strabismus (Cross Eyed, Eye Turns, etc.)
- Convergence Insufficiency (Near Vision Disorder)
- Double Vision
- Eye Tracking Problems