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Computer Vision Syndrome

Understanding Computer Vision Syndrome

Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) is a type of eye strain that occurs when people spend extended hours using digital devices such as computers, smartphones, and tablets. It’s also known as Digital Eye Strain and can cause various symptoms, including:

  • Dry eye
  • Irritated eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Headaches
  • Neck and shoulder pain
These symptoms are often linked with improper device use, such as incorrect screen brightness settings, unsuitable viewing distances, and unadjusted fonts.

How CVS Differs from Other Eye-Related Issues

CVS differs from other eye-related issues by its direct relationship with digital screens. Here are some key differences from common refractive errors:

1. CVS:

  • Caused by prolonged focus on a computer screen or other digital screens (like smartphones or tablets)
  • Often temporary and resolves after sufficient rest from screens
  • May be reduced by adjusting screen settings and taking breaks

2. Refractive Errors (e.g., nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism):

  • Caused by irregular shape or function of the eye
  • Usually a long-term issue requiring prescription lenses for correction
  • Not limited to digital screens and affects all forms of vision

Causes and Risk Factors of Computer Vision Syndrome

Poor Lighting

Inappropriate lighting conditions play a significant role in the development of computer vision syndrome. Staring at a computer screen with insufficient ambient light or excessive brightness can cause eye strain, making it difficult for the eyes to focus. Ensure that the room has balanced lighting to reduce the risk of CVS.

Suboptimal Viewing Distance

Improper viewing distances contribute to the development of CVS. Sitting too close or too far from a screen forces the eyes to work harder, leading to strain and discomfort.

You should maintain a comfortable distance from the screen to help prevent CVS. An occupational risk for individuals in jobs that require prolonged screen time is an increased chance of developing CVS.

Screen Glare

Glare on screens is another cause of CVS. Screen glare, caused by sunlight or artificial light reflecting off the screen, can significantly strain the eyes. To reduce glare, consider using an anti-glare screen protector or adjusting the screen angle.

Prolonged Screen Time

Extended periods of screen time, especially for those with pre-existing eye conditions or of older age, can increase the risk of computer vision syndrome. By addressing these factors, individuals can minimize their risk of developing computer vision syndrome and maintain healthier eyes in the digital age.

Exploration of Risk Factors

Pre Existing Eye Conditions

People with existing eye issues may face a higher risk of developing Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS). For example, those with uncorrected nearsightedness or farsightedness might struggle more when using screens. Wearing glasses or contact lenses, ensuring they are up-to-date, can help decrease CVS symptoms.


As people age, their eyes change and become more susceptible to CVS. Natural changes in the lens and muscles of the eye can reduce focusing ability, increasing the risk of CVS. Presbyopia, an age-related loss of near focusing, can also contribute to this syndrome. Regular eye exams are key to monitor and address age-related eye changes.


People whose work involves using computers or digital devices for long periods face a greater risk of computer vision syndrome. Some tips to reduce the risk include:

  • Adjusting screen position: Position the screen below eye level at a distance of about 20-28 inches.
  • Taking breaks: Apply the 20-20-20 rule; every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
  • Managing glare: Reduce glare by placing the screen in a way to minimize reflections.

Symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome

Dr. Richard Simon Explains Computer Vision Syndrome

Eye Strain and Discomfort

Prolonged use of digital devices can lead to eye strain and discomfort. Unfortunately, the strain and discomfort worsens with increased screen time.

Dry Eyes or Excessive Tearing

When focusing on screens for long periods, people tend to blink less, causing dry eyes. When experiencing dry eye, your eyes may produce excessive tears to compensate for the dryness, leading to a cycle of discomfort.

Problems Focusing

Computer Vision Syndrome can cause difficulty focusing on objects, due to eye fatigue. Extended screen usage strains the eyes, making it harder to focus both on-screen and off-screen objects.

Blurred Vision / Double Vision

Blurry vision and double vision are common symptoms of this syndrome. Prolonged digital screen exposure causes the eyes to work harder, resulting in these visual disturbances.

Light Sensitivity

Increased sensitivity to light is another symptom associated with Computer Vision Syndrome. The contrast between screen brightness and dark room lighting can cause discomfort and contribute to the overall eye strain.

Diagnosis of Computer Vision Syndrome

Steps to Get Properly Diagnosed with CVS

To diagnose Computer Vision Syndrome, your optometrist will start with a thorough eye exam to check your vision and assess eye health. The process includes a review of your patient history, which involves asking about your daily digital device use, work environment, and any symptoms you are experiencing. Next, visual acuity measurements help determine your level of visual distortion.

When to Consult a Healthcare Professional

It’s essential to consult an eye doctor if you experience symptoms like eye strain, fatigue, blurred vision, or discomfort after prolonged use of digital devices. Ignoring these signs can lead to the worsening of CVS, and may impact your quality of life. Timely diagnosis can help mitigate the effects of CVS and ensure appropriate treatment strategies.

Types of Examinations and Tests Involved

During an eye examination for CVS, your eye doctor may perform:
  1. Visual acuity test: Measures your eyes’ ability to see clearly at various distances.
  2. Refraction test: Determines the precise prescription for corrective lenses if you require them.
  3. Binocular vision assessment: Evaluates the coordination and focusing ability of both eyes.
  4. Eye health examination: Assesses the overall health of your eyes through a series of tests.

Importance of Accurate Diagnosis for Effective Treatment

An accurate diagnosis of CVS is crucial to tailor an effective treatment plan. Knowing the specific issues for each patient, such as uncorrected vision problems, excessive screen time, or poor lighting, allows your eye doctor to suggest appropriate interventions. Implementing these recommendations can help alleviate symptoms and improve your overall visual experience and productivity while working with digital devices.

Medical Treatment Options for Computer Vision Syndrome

Prescription Eyewear

For many people, computer vision syndrome can be improved with the right prescription eyewear. Special computer glasses can help reduce eye strain.
These glasses have lenses that change focus. They work with the user’s specific vision needs for computer use. It’s crucial to have an eye exam to get the right prescription. A proper prescription enhances comfort during long hours of screen time.

Eye Drops

Dry and irritated eyes are common problems with computer vision syndrome. Eye drops can help ease dry eye and irritation symptoms. Artificial tears or lubricating eye drops are often used to combat dryness.

These drops can be bought over-the-counter, but some may need a doctor’s prescription. It’s best to follow the doctor’s advice on how often to use eye drops.

Vision Therapy

Another option to treat computer vision syndrome is vision therapy. We offer this therapy at our office here in Fair Lawn.
This therapy involves eye exercises and training. The goal is to improve a person’s eye abilities, such as focusing and eye movement.
Vision therapy helps reduce eye strain and discomfort from extended screen use. Our team of professionals will custom tailor your vision therapy to meet your needs.

Treatment Through Workspace Modification

Better Lighting

Adjusting your workspace lighting can help reduce eye strain. Ensure adequate natural light, and avoid harsh overhead lighting. Instead, use task lighting or lamps to minimize glare on screens.

Create an Ergonomic Workspace

  • Good ergonomics play a crucial role in preventing computer vision syndrome.
  • Position your monitor at about an arm’s length away and slightly below eye level
  • Adjust your chair to support your spine and maintain proper posture while working
  • Sit with your back straight and feet flat on the ground
  • Avoid slouching or hunching in front of the screen
  • Place your keyboard directly in front of the screen to encourage proper posture

Monitor / Laptop Screen Adjustments

  • Invest in an anti-glare screen filter that fits your device as screen filters can minimize glare and reflections
  • Adjusting the device’s display settings can improve your visual comfort by changing brightness, contrast, resolution and font size

Software Solutions to Reduce Eye Strain

Several software options help alleviate eye strain.. You can also use applications that remind you to take regular breaks, or enable blue light filters to protect your eyes further.

Adjust Your Work Habits

Working for hours on can increase the chances of computer vision syndrome. Instead of staring at your screen for hours, take frequent breaks. Stand up, stretch, and walk around to boost blood flow and relax your eyes. Use the 20-20-20 rule as previously discussed.

Prevention Strategies for Computer Vision Syndrome

Importance of Regular Eye Exams

Regular eye exams play a vital role in maintaining eye health and detecting any vision problems early. Talk to your eye care specialist about any concerns related to CVS.

Ensure that your vision prescription is up to date and appropriate for extended computer use. A comprehensive eye examination includes checking for ocular strain, a common symptom of CVS.

Duration and Prognosis of Computer Vision Syndrome

How Long CVS Symptoms Can Last

CVS symptoms may last for a variable time. For some, signs fade away after a short break. Others may feel the impact for hours or days. Proper rest and eye care help to reduce these issues.

Factors Affecting the Duration of CVS

The duration of CVS depends on many factors. These include screen time, posture, and lighting. A poor setup can worsen symptoms. Also, unaddressed vision issues play a role. Blinking less than normal adds to the strain.

Typical Recovery Times with and Without Treatment

List of average recovery times:

  • With treatment: Days to weeks.
  • Without treatment: Weeks to months.

Recovery depends on the severity of the issue. Treatment speeds up the process. Simple changes at work, like adjusting the screen and taking breaks, help. Proper eye care reduces the recovery time.

Long-Term Outlook for Individuals with CVS

The long-term outlook for CVS is positive. Most people find relief with the right steps. Those with low risk factors have a better prognosis. If factors like screen time are not reduced, it may lead to chronic issues in some cases. Prevention and early treatment are key.

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We will explain how your deductible works. We’ll also explain what services are fully or partially covered. We’ll also tell you what services are unlikely to be covered. Based on our experience, we’ll even give you our estimate of what you can expect back from your insurance company.

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We also take care of submitting all required paperwork to your insurance company. We do this every day, and we know the ins and outs of getting insurance claims submitted properly to your insurer.

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