Causes and Effects of Computer Vision Syndrome

Optometrist Dr. Amy Bishop treats many eye conditions at her practice, TSO Bishop Arts, in Dallas. With some 20 years’ experience as an optometrist, Dr. Amy Bishop advises many patients who have computer vision syndrome (CVS).

Also known as digital eye strain, CVS results from prolonged exposure to computers, mobile phones, and other devices with display screens. Symptoms include blurred vision, dry eyes, eye strain, headaches, and shoulder and neck pain. Poor lighting, improper posture and distance from the screen, and untreated vision deficits worsen this condition.

Words and images on computer screens are not as sharply defined as in print. Letters on the screen also frequently have less contrast with the background. Additionally, poor placement of the screen can lead users to assume awkward positions while reading, which creates back pain and discomfort in head and neck muscles.

At work and at home, Americans look at computer screens an average of seven hours a day. Even persons with contact lenses and prescription glasses experience CVS.

To relieve and help prevent CVS, the American Optometric Association recommends the 20–20–20 rule: a 20-second break to look at objects 20 feet away every 20 minutes.

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