Computer Vision Syndrome: Myths and Facts
Don’t let computer vision syndrome keep you from using technology! This guide has all the facts you need to know about CVS.
These days, most people work at home, meaning they spend most of their time staring at digital screens like computers. Digital screens could also include smartphones and tablets. Several hours of staring at a computer could put a real strain on our eyes.
Even if you use your computer for a minimum of two hours daily, it’s still enough to make you develop computer vision syndrome. All eye problems caused by staring at a computer screen for a long time are called computer vision syndrome (CVS). Digital eye strain may affect your vision if not managed properly.
To separate misconception from the truth, we have debunked the most common myths and stated the least talked about facts. Let’s begin by finding out the meaning of computer vision syndrome.
Computer Vision Syndrome
Computer Vision Syndrome, or digital eye strain, is a condition that occurs when you use a computer or any device with a digital screen for a long time. The prolonged period is not definite per individual, but anything beyond two hours a day poses a risk. People who use their laptops or phones for longer periods experience blurred vision and eye irritations.
Eye strain occurs due to the screens’ excessively bright light (or blue light). CVS isn’t one specific problem but rather a combination of eye strain and discomfort from staring at screens for an extended period. So can you minimize damage caused by digital screens? Read on to find out.
Myth 1: Digital Eye Strain Doesn’t Cause Any Symptoms
Many believe digital eye strain is an exaggeration and doesn’t cause any symptoms. Eyes are not naturally designed to spend more than 10 hours looking close, hence the rise in digital eye strain cases.
According to a report by The Vision Council, 65% of Americans experience digital eye strain symptoms. So if you use your computer or tablet, you are likely to experience the following symptoms:
- Eye fatigue
- Blurred vision
- Double vision
- Dry, red eyes
- Eye irritation
- Neck or back pain
If left unattended, digital eye strain can severely affect your vision and overall health.
Myth 2: Blue light can only be emitted by devices with screens
Before laptops and tablets became common in workplaces and homes, blue light was never a major concern.
Therefore, many people associate blue light with only technological devices. The truth is that the sun emits both UV light and blue wavelengths. Besides your screens, you can also find blue light outdoors.
UV light is not as intrusive as blue wavelengths. The blue lights can easily reach your inner structures. Blue light poses more risk than UV light because of how readily it can get to the inner structures of the human body.
Myth 3: Computer screens pose more risk than tablets
It’s common nowadays to meet people walking across the road with their eyes fixed on phone screens. In most homes, smartphones have taken the place of family conversations. Yet despite the increased use of phones, many people still believe it’s only a computer that poses a major risk to the eye.
All digital screens damage the eye, no matter the size. Staring at your phone all day is worse than sitting behind your computer. Most digital eye strain patients either use smartphones or tablets.
Myth 4: Children cannot get computer vision syndrome
Nobody is immune from getting digital eye strain syndrome. The popular belief that children’s eyes are still young and healthy and thus can’t develop strain symptoms is misplaced.
Children can get computer vision syndrome just like adults. Research states that most children staring at screens for prolonged hours are more likely to have vision problems.
Myth 5: Staring at your screen all day will permanently damage your eyes
Imagine all the hours you have stared at your computer– have you gone? The blue light from computers and phones can’t cause permanent harm to your eyes. However, when exposed to blue light for a long time, you can experience eyestrain and dryness, which are easily manageable.
You will notice dry eye symptoms when you finally look away from the screen. It is because the more you stare at nearby objects, the less you blink. Staring at your computer also tires your eye muscles.
Myth 6: You can get special glasses to protect you from digital eye strain
Have you met workmates who use special glasses which they claim prevent the blue light from getting into their eyes? There are certain eyeglasses with anti-reflective coatings that may reduce the strain. However, they can’t protect your eyes fully from the blue wavelengths. If you must use your laptop for a long period, ensure you take breaks to prevent straining.
Myth 7: Digital eye strain is untreatable
Digital eye strain can be managed and treated like any other eye problem. Your optometrist will examine your case and prescribe the most effective vision therapy. The therapy will re-train your eyes to focus without straining.
Research suggests that vision therapy trains your eyes and brain to work together, developing active seamless coordination.
Myth 8: Digital eye strain doesn’t affect your productivity
Can you imagine sitting behind a computer for eight uninterrupted hours? It is sure to affect productivity.
Even with mild symptoms, digital eye strain will lower your productivity. The more you stare at the screen, the less productive you become. Also, ocular muscle fatigue affects computer accuracy and speed.
Interestingly, many people experience digital eye strain but don’t realize it. You are a candidate for computer vision syndrome if you constantly use your computer, smartphone, or tablet. Avoiding the use of these devices is impractical. Therefore, you should find a way of minimizing the risk of getting digital eye strain.
For example, while using a computer, you can take a break after every 20 minutes to look at something different for about 20 seconds so that you can refresh your eyes and start again. Get in touch for more tips on CVS.