The use of digital devices, including personal computers, tablets and cell phones, continues to increase. And, the impact of prolonged usage can often be felt in the eye.
Research shows computer eye problems are common. Somewhere between 50% and 90% of people who work at a computer screen occasionally have at least some symptoms of eye trouble.
In addition, working adults aren’t the only ones vulnerable to computer vision syndrome. Kids who stare at portable video games or who use computers throughout the day at school also can experience eye problems related to computer use, especially if the lighting and computer position are less than ideal.
Symptoms of digital eyestrain can include dry eyes, blurred vision and headaches. Collectively, these conditions are known as Computer vision syndrome.
COMPUTER VISION SYNDROME
Staring at a computer monitor for hours on end has become a part of the modern workday. And inevitably, all of that staring can put a real strain on your eyes.
Computer vision syndrome can be likened to other overuse conditions (eg RSI, carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive stress injuries at work – collectively known as ‘Musculo-Skeletal Disorders or MSDs. See “Overuse Injuries – The RSI Phenomenon Revisited by Dr David McIvor – click here).
MSDs occur when you’re carrying out the same action repeatedly – or “repetitively”. Just like those other overuse injuries, computer vision syndrome can get worse the longer you continue the activity.
Working at a computer requires that the eyes continuously focus, move back and forth, and align with what you are seeing. You may have to look down at papers and then back up to type, and the eyes have to accommodate to changing images on the screen in order to create a clear picture for the brain to interpret.
All of these functions require a lot of effort from eye muscles. Working on a computer is more challenging to your eyes than reading a book or piece of paper, because a computer screen also adds the elements of screen contrast, flicker, and glare. Computer eye problems are more likely to occur if you already have an eye problem (such as nearsightedness or astigmatism) or if you need glasses but don’t wear them or wear the wrong prescription for computer use.
Working at a computer gets even more difficult as you get older. That’s because the lens of your eye becomes less flexible. The ability to focus on near and far objects starts to diminish after about age 40 – a condition called presbyopia.
What Symptoms Are Part of Computer Vision Syndrome?
There’s no evidence that computer vision syndrome causes any long-term damage to the eyes – for example, cataracts. However, regular computer use can be the source of significant eyestrain and discomfort.
If you have computer vision syndrome, you may experience some or all of these symptoms:
- Blurred vision
- Double vision
- Dry, red eyes
- Eye irritation
- Neck or back pain
If these symptoms are not treated, they can have a real effect on your work performance.
Conjunctivitis – also known as ‘Pinkeye’ – is redness and inflammation of the clear membranes covering the whites of the eyes and the membranes on the inner part of the eyelids. Pinkeye is most often caused by a virus or by a bacterial infection, although allergies, chemical agents, and underlying diseases can also play a role.
Symptoms of pink eye vary depending on the type of pink eye you have. Burning, itchy eyes that discharge a thick, sticky mucus may indicate bacterial pink eye. Tearing, a swollen lymph node under the jaw or in front of the ear, and a light discharge of mucus from one or both eyes are often signs of viral pink eye. People with viral pink eye commonly have symptoms of an upper respiratory infection or cold as well. Redness, intense itching, and tears in both eyes may indicate. (Read more at http://goo.gl/QZlLN7)