Computer Vision Syndrome

Computer Vision Syndrome

Computer Vision Symdrome, also known as CVS, is becoming a more and more common cause of visits to the eye doctor’s office. As computer and hand-held device use increases, this problem will become more pervasive, but there are simple solutions to this problem.

What is CVS?

Computer vision syndrome, or CVS, is a combination of symptoms, including eye strain, fatigue, headaches and neck stiffness. Blurred vision may also be a component of this syndrome. Patients typically find themselves taking frequent breaks to ease their symptoms, and struggle to find an optimum position for their computer monitor.

How big a problem is CVS?

Last year, the Wall Street Journal reported that CVS affects 90% of people who spend 3 hours or more in front of the computer. These statistics were reported by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Healthy.

How do we treat CVS?

There is no treatment for Computer Vision Syndrome, but there are many measures that can be taken to help ease the symptoms. Probably some combination of the remedies listed below will be useful, but may not lead to complete resolution of symptoms.

  • Computer Glasses
    These glasses are made to focus at arms-length, and may also have a bifocal added for reading distance. They allow good focus at the proper distance for these activities, but do not allow a person to focus beyond arms length.
  • Contact lenses
    Multifocal or monovision contact lenses may allow some degree of relief. The multifocals probably give the best range of vision, but may be hard to tolerate. Monovision contact lenses usually cannot give adequate reading vision if the non-dominant eye is set for computer distance.
  • Ergonomic solutions
    Proper positioning of the monitor is very important. A working distance of about 20 inches is optimum, and the monitor should be below eye level so that the chin does not have to tilt up for viewing. The computer should not be ‘back lit’ by a bright light or window behind the monitor. And anti-reflective coating on glasses may also reduce glare and decrease symptoms of CVS.
  • Surgical solutions
    The only surgery which can allow a full range of vision in patients who are experiencing symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome is ReLEx surgery. With this surgery, the natural lens of the eye is removed, and replaced with an implant, such as the Crystalens®, that can allow a full range of vision without glasses.