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Everything about digital eye strain and computer vision syndrome

Jakub Odcházel

Medically reviewed by Jakub Odcházel, Chief Optician, on 13 Jan 2021
Written by Maria Chiara Tarsia

Computer vision syndrome, also known as digital eye strain, is the combination of eye and vision problems associated with the use of computers and other electronic devices. A research paper says that many individuals spend 10 or more hours per day viewing these displays.

Have you ever experienced any of the following, while working or being in front of a computer screen?

What causes eye strain and blurred vision?

The most common factors of Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) or Digital Eye Strain are:

  • Poor lighting
  • Glare on a digital screen
  • Improper viewing distances
  • Poor seating posture
  • Uncorrected vision problems

In many cases a combination of these factors is responsible for eye strain. This combination is even worse when you sit in front of a computer screen for a long time wearing contact lenses.

Medical News Today reports that studies have shown that when people are working on a computer, their rate of blinking goes down by two-thirds, which can result in dry, stinging eyes. This problem is exacerbated for contact lens wearers, who already tend to suffer from dry eyes, so doctors recommend the use of lubricating drops.

Statistics of Computer Vision Syndrome (CSV)

You should know that

  • There are more than 10 million visits to eye doctors every year for CVS related problems
  • If you spend more than 2 hours daily in front of the computer you have a 90% chance to develop CVS
  • Without proper vision correction, worker productivity can decrease by as much as 20%
  • Computer eye strain is the first computer-related complaint
  • Workers in western countries spend at least 6 hours using a computer every day, which means 1548 hours a year
  • To minimize the effect of computer-related eyes problems remember the 20–20–20 rule
  • 16 new patients are treated each month by Ophthalmologists.

Effects of Computer Vision Syndrome (CSV)

  • Eye fatigue + Tired Eyes: 64.95%
  • Eye strain: 48.83%
  • Headaches: 45.68%
  • Neck / Shoulder pain: 44.0%
  • Irritation of eyes: 37.5%
  • Itching / Burning of eyes: 34.38%
  • Back pain: 34.38%
  • Blurry vision: 30.48%
  • General fatigue: 25.58%
  • Tension: 25.16%
  • Arm / Wrist / Shoulder pain: 25.0%
  • Tearing: 14.78%
graphic representation of the effect of computer vision syndrome

Looking for a perfect pair of computer glasses?

At Lentiamo you'll find high-quality models from Ray-Ban and Meller. On request, our optometrists can also have any other brand of glasses fitted with a blue light filter.

All blue light glasses Meller Blue Light & Ray-Ban Everglasses

Which glasses and contact lenses help decrease computer vision syndrome?

In recent years, the manufacturers of glasses and contact lenses have reacted noticeably to the problems of tired eyes caused by blue light. Various lens coatings now help effectively in coping with the problems generated by office life and the constant flickering of digital screens. Here are the most important products:

  • Computer glasses: Computer (or blue-cut) glasses have a blue filter technology on their lenses that filters the excessive amount of blue light from the screen. These glasses have been proven to reduce eye strain and fatigue, increase visual comfort, improve colour contrast and help focus throughout the day. Blue light glasses also have a consequential positive effect on the quality of sleep at night.
  • Contact lenses with blue filter: The Acuvue Oasys with transitions are two-weekly lenses that automatically adapt to changing light conditions. The integrated Transitions Light Intelligent Technology quickly and easily reduces the stress on the eyes from internal and external light. This includes protection against blue light emitted by computers and smartphones since the technology includes a blue light and UV filter!

Take a look at our infographic to understand better how computer glasses and blue filter contact lenses work.

You can see on the colour scale that blue light is no longer visible to our eyes because it is outside our visible spectrum. At the bottom left you can see that blue light can enter the eyes unhindered without computer glasses or contact lenses, while the graphic on the right shows how the harmful blue light is filtered out.

Here are 5 tips against eye strain and computer vision syndrome

  1. Keep the correct distance.

    As with driving – keeping a safe distance is the best practice. For example, when reading (on your computer, phone or tablet), make sure the text is always at least 30–40 cm away.
  2. Proper lighting.

    When focusing on an object, try to position the light correctly and avoid creating shadows, as these can tire the vision. You can also adjust the brightness and contrast of a computer or TV screen to your personal taste.
  3. The 20–20–20 rule.

    Every 20 minutes, take a 20 second break and look 20 feet away. The best practice is to have at least two short breaks per hour (30 to 60 seconds is enough). Every two hours take a 15 minutes break.
  4. New examination

    Your vision performance is constantly changing and it may be that the glasses or contact lenses you are wearing are no longer suitable. Take a new exam, you may need different grades or a different kind of contacts.
  5. Get back down to Earth.

    Tension and abnormal posture can have a negative impact on your vision, but even most importantly on your body. Make sure your feet always touch the floor.

It is not difficult to follow these simple rules. These tips can be applied anytime, anywhere. And no matter how old you are – they will help you when reading your favourite book or sitting in front of a computer screen.

Sources:

1. Medical News Today
2. NCBI
3. International Journal of Nursing and Medical Investigation

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