Computer vision syndrome (CVS) is strain on the eyes that happens when you use a computer for prolonged periods of time. Anyone who has spent a few hours on the computer has probably felt some of the effects of prolonged use of the computer or other digital technology. It is temporary, and usually goes away on its own – however, the discomfort it causes can be minimized by following a few simple practices.

Computers and electronics can strain our eyes

What Causes Computer Vision Syndrome?

There are a number of factors that determine the amount of strain your body feels as you work on a computer, including lighting in the room, distance from the screen, glare on the screen, seating posture, and the angle of your head – not to mention any existing vision problems you may have. One or all of these may combine to cause an uncomfortable amount of strain on your eyes.

Symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome

Your eye care professional can diagnose computer vision syndrome through an eye exam, with special attention paid to how the eye works and responds at computer distance.

You probably have experienced at least one of the common symptoms of computer vision syndrome which include:

  • Eyestrain
  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry eyes
  • Neck and shoulder pain

These symptoms may be caused by other factors such as uncorrected vision needs, glare, poor lighting, improper posture, etc.

Treatment for Computer Vision Syndrome

With these simple practices, you can reduce, or even prevent the effects of computer vision syndrome:

  • Make sure the lighting in the room is comfortable on the eyes, and prevents you from staring into glare on the computer screen
  • Position the computer screen so that your head is in a naturally comfortable position while working
  • Take breaks. A few minutes away from the computer can go a long way when it comes to your eyes. Think of it similarly to the way you take stretch breaks for your arms and back.
  • Make sure your seat is comfortable. A comfortable chair with support for your neck and back will help you avoid neck and shoulder strain commonly associated with computer vision syndrome.

Additional Information

Computer Vision Syndrome – American Optometric Association