Who is affected by Computer Vision
Estimates vary, but some experts say
50% to 90% of computer users experience eyestrain or other symptoms of computer
vision syndrome (CVS). Though CVS is often associated with adult computer
users, children may be even more vulnerable to the condition.
What are the symptoms of CVS?
Symptoms of computer vision syndrome
Loss of focus
Neck and shoulder
What causes Computer Vision Syndrome?
CVS is caused by the increased
demands of computer-generated images on our eyes and visual systems and by the
prolonged and/or repetitive nature of computer work.
Our eyes have little problem focusing
on most printed material, which is characterized by dense black characters with
well-defined edges. Characters on a computer screen, however, don't have the
same high contrast or well-defined borders. The luminous elements (pixels) that
create images on a computer screen are brightest at the center and diminish in
intensity toward their edges. This makes it more difficult for our eyes to
accurately focus on computer-generated images compared to images printed with
ink in a book or magazine.
As our eyes struggle to gain and
maintain focus on images on a computer screen, this continuous flexing of the
eyes' focusing muscles creates fatigue and the burning, tired-eyes feeling that
is so common after long hours at the computer.
In addition, it's common for computer
users to fall into bad postural habits and remain in these positions for
extended periods of time, causing muscle strain, fatigue and headaches.
What can I do about CVS?
A pair of computer eyeglasses can
help relieve many of the symptoms of CVS. Unlike regular eyeglasses, computer
glasses are prescribed specifically for the distance from your eyes to your
computer screen. This reduces the focusing demands on your eyes during computer
use to lessen eye fatigue and reduce the risk for eyestrain and other
computer-related vision problems.
Will glare screens prevent CVS?
A glare filter for your computer
screen may help somewhat, but it will not solve all your computer vision
problems. Filters can reduce glare from overhead lights or outdoor sunlight
reflecting off the surface of your computer screen. But they do nothing to
prevent the vision problems related to the constant refocusing of your eyes
when working at a computer.
Only when your eyes can focus clearly
at the plane of proper distance on the computer screen can they experience
relief from the fatiguing effects of CVS. An anti-reflective coating (AR) is
also highly recommended on all computer eyeglasses.
Will anti-reflective coating on my
eyeglasses eliminate glare?
Anti-reflective (AR) coatings reduce
glare from light reflecting off the front and back surfaces of your eyeglass
lenses. So. like filters for your computer screen, AR coatings for eyeglass
lenses are helpful, but they do not address the primary cause of most CVS
Will computer eyeglasses make the
Yes, because they will eliminate the
constant refocusing effort that your eyes go through when viewing the screen.
Research has also shown that wearing computer eyeglasses increases productivity
Do computer glasses look like safety
No. Almost any style of frame can be
used for computer glasses. Also, the lenses of computer glasses don't have to
pass the stringent impact-resistance standards required of lenses in safety
Should computer lenses be tinted?
If you work in a very bright office,
you may benefit from a light tint applied to your computer lenses. This can cut
the amount of light that reaches your eyes and provide relief in some cases. But
tints and filters don't address the underlying cause of computer eyestrain.
If I don't have symptoms of CVS, do I
still need computer eyewear?
Maybe. Research has shown that even
computer users who are not experiencing symptoms of CVS may benefit from
wearing computer eyewear. An eye exam with a computer vision specialist is the
best way to determine if computer glasses might be helpful for you.
Will insurance pay for these glasses?
In some cases, yes. If you have
medical coverage, but not vision insurance, the exam portion of the cost may be
covered by your medical carrier. If you have vision insurance, you may be
entitled to an annual exam, which could be used to cover the computer exam and
a portion of the cost of the computer eyewear.
Will my reading glasses work at the
Not necessarily. As with anything
else you do in life, it's important to have the right tool for the job. You
would not use a hammer when you need a screwdriver. The same goes for your
vision. You would not use distance glasses for doing close work. So, in most
cases, your reading glasses are probably not going to do the job at the
computer. Reading glasses are usually prescribed to optimize vision at a
distance of approximately 14 to 16 inches from your eyes. Computer glasses are
designed to provide optimum vision at a normal computer distance — usually 20
to 28 inches from your eyes.
Isn't ergonomics the solution to
Ergonomics can be defined as the
science of designing and arranging things people use to enable interaction in
the most efficient and safe manner possible. Taking these steps can be an
important component of preventing and treating CVS. But ergonomics
alone--placing a computer screen at a comfortable height and distance from the
user, for example--cannot fix a vision problem. This can only be achieved with
Will wearing computer eyeglasses make
my eyes worse?
No. There is no evidence that wearing
computer glasses harms your eyes or causes changes such as myopia
(nearsightedness), farsightedness or astigmatism. In fact, some research
suggests that reducing focusing stress with special lenses for reading or
computer use may slow the progression of myopia in some school-aged children.
For more information on relief of eye strain, visit All About Vision®.
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