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Computer Vision Syndrome

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What is Computer Vision Syndrome?

Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) is a condition arising from excessive time spent looking at a computer display in a protracted, uninterrupted fashion. People with CVS can suffer from dry-eye, headaches, blurred vision, neck pain, fatigue, eye strain, and difficulty refocusing the eyes.

What causes CVS?

Working long hours focusing on computer screens has shown to decrease the normal blink reflex in human eyes which leads to dry eyes. The normal blink rate in human eyes is 16–20 per minute, yet studies have shown that this rate can decrease to as low as 6–8 blinks/minute for persons working on a computer screen. The focusing effort required to look at a near item (computer screen) for long hours puts strain on ciliary muscles of the eye. This induces symptoms of asthenopia and leads to a feeling of tiredness in the eyes after long hours of work. Some patients present with inability to properly focus on near objects after a short duration. This can be seen in people aged around 30–40 years of age, leading to a decrease in the accommodative focusing mechanisms of the eye.

Treatments

The symptoms of dry-eye can be treated with over-the-counter eye drops or artificial tears.

Eye strain is best treated by giving proper rest to the muscles in the eye. This can be done by taking regular breaks from looking at the computer screen, as well as routinely looking at distant objects such as items outside of the window. One way to help is to remember the "20-20-20 rule": every 20 minutes, focus the eyes on an object 20 feet (6 meters) away for 20 seconds. Another method is to close ones eyes for 20 seconds, at least every half hour.