Legacy Eye Care
Modernized Optometry, Affordable Quality Care

Computer Vision Syndrome

Resulting from the dramatic increase in the use of technology and technological devices, including smartphones, iPads and computers among the general population, *Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) is a becoming a common condition. CVS is caused by our eyes and brain reacting differently to characters on the computer screen than they do to printed characters.

Computer images are made up of tiny dots, known as pixels. These pixels are brightest at the center and diminish in intensity toward their edges. This makes it very difficult for our eyes to maintain focus and remain fixated onto these images. Our eyes cannot are constantly refocus to keep the images sharp. Eventually, we get repetitive stress of the eye muscles.

CVS is characterized by eye irritation, such as dry eye; red, itchy, watery eyes; fatigue, including heaviness of the eyelids or forehead, and difficulty focusing the eyes. These symptoms can cause headaches, backaches, and muscle spasms. Special test done during your eye examination can help us design eyeglass lenses to reduce your risks of developing computer vision syndrome.

Solutions to computer - Related vision problems are varied. However, CVS can usually be alleviated by obtaining regular eye care and making changes in how you view the computer screen. 



Eye Care

In some cases, individuals who do not require the use of eyeglasses for other daily activities may benefit from glasses prescribed specifically for computer use. In addition, persons already wearing glasses may find their current prescription does not provide optimal vision for viewing a computer.

  • Eyeglasses or contact lenses prescribed for general use may not be adequate for computer work. Lenses prescribed to meet the unique visual demands of computer viewing may be needed. Special lens designs, lens powers or lens tints or coatings may help to maximize visual abilities and comfort.

  • Some computer users experience problems with eye focusing or eye coordination that can't be adequately corrected with eyeglasses or contact lenses. A program of vision therapy may be needed to treat these specific problems. Vision therapy, also called visual training, is a structured program of visual activities prescribed to improve visual abilities. It trains the eyes and brain to work together more effectively. These eye exercises help remediate deficiencies in eye movement, eye focusing and eye teaming and reinforce the eye-brain connection. Treatment may include office-based as well as home training procedures.


Viewing the Computer



Proper body positioning for computer use.

Some important factors in preventing or reducing the symptoms of CVS have to do with the computer and how it is used. This includes lighting conditions, chair comfort, location of reference materials, position of the monitor, and the use of rest breaks.

  • Location of computer screen - Most people find it more comfortable to view a computer when the eyes are looking downward. Optimally, the computer screen should be 15 to 20 degrees below eye level (about 4 or 5 inches) as measured from the center of the screen and 20 to 28 inches from the eyes.

  • Reference materials - These materials should be located above the keyboard and below the monitor. If this is not possible, a document holder can be used beside the monitor. The goal is to position the documents so you do not need to move your head to look from the document to the screen.

  • Lighting - Position the computer screen to avoid glare, particularly from overhead lighting or windows. Use blinds or drapes on windows and replace the light bulbs in desk lamps with bulbs of lower wattage.

  • Anti-glare screens - If there is no way to minimize glare from light sources, consider using a screen glare filter. These filters decrease the amount of light reflected from the screen.

  • Seating position - Chairs should be comfortably padded and conform to the body. Chair height should be adjusted so your feet rest flat on the floor. If your chair has arms, they should be adjusted to provide arm support while you are typing. Your wrists shouldn't rest on the keyboard when typing. 

  • Rest breaks - To prevent eyestrain, try to rest your eyes when using the computer for long periods. Rest your eyes for 15 minutes after two hours of continuous computer use. Also, for every 20 minutes of computer viewing, look into the distance for 20 seconds to allow your eyes a chance to refocus.

  • Blinking - To minimize your chances of developing dry eye when using a computer, make an effort to blink frequently. Blinking keeps the front surface of your eye moist.

Regular eye examinations and proper viewing habits can help to prevent or reduce the development of the symptoms associated with Computer Vision Syndrome.