The term "computer vision syndrome" refers to a range of eye and vision problems associated with prolonged use of computer or other digital screens.
The term “computer vision syndrome” (CVS) refers to a range of eye and vision problems associated with prolonged use of computer or other digital screens.
Although it doesn’t result in permanent damage, it’s common, affecting about three-quarters of computer users. Here’s what happens: the eyes focus well on images that have clearly defined edges and strong contrast between the background and any letters and symbols- say, printed material that has solid black figures on a white background.
But it’s a different story with electronically generated characters. Letters and numbers displayed on a computer screen consist of thousands of tiny dots called pixels. The eyes have a difficult time focusing on pixels and end up straining and relaxing over and over again as a result. This constant flexing of the focusing muscles (those of the ciliary body) can lead to fatigue and spasms.
Other factors can exacerbate CVS: insufficient tear flow; the effects of glare and reflection on the monitor; poor ergonomics and lighting; and the need for vision correction.
CVS is most prevalent in people over age 40, when the ability to focus on closer objects begins to wane.
According to the Canadian Association of Optometrists, the number of eye complaints related to computer use is higher than it was five years ago. No wonder, given the proliferation of more sophisticated smart phones and laptops, the introduction of “tablet” computers, and the ever-growing popularity of social networking and media.
In fact, Canadian baby boomers spend nearly eight hours a day in front of potentially eye straining devices such as computers, cell phones, e-books, and other wireless devices, according to a 2009 Leger Marketing survey.