Computer Vision Syndrome

Computer Vision Syndrome

The American Optometric Association defines computer vision syndrome as a complex of vision and eye problems experienced in relation, or during, the use of a computer. The main symptoms reported are eye strain, irritation, burning, redness, blurred vision and double vision. Symptoms are usually temporary and disappear at the end of the working day.

Direct eye related factors can be related to low screen resolution, contrast (intensity of the light), glare, slow refresh rates causing a flickering screen. When these are of poor quality, the visual demand of a reader has to be increased, resulting in eye symptoms.

computer vision syndrome

Working non stop for more than 4 hours is associated with eye strain. Taking frequent, short break can help restore and relax the eyes and preventing strain and visual fatigue. With recurrent symptoms of computer vision syndrome, advice is to get proper optometrist assessment.

Extraocular mechanisms or factors not related to the eyes can cause musculoskeletal symptoms like neck stiffness and pain, headache, backache and shoulder pain. These symptoms are well associated with ergonomic factors and sometimes called text neck. A 2023 study in Cureus studied computer vision syndrome among medical students.

The authors noted continuous uninterrupted use of electronic devices, including smartphones, tablets, and computers, can result in vision related symptoms known as computer vision syndrome. In their study, neck and shoulder pain was the most commonly reported symptom, followed by headache. The least reported symptom was eye redness.

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Most students used electronic devices for five or more hours a day, with the most common posture while was lying down. Almost 70% reported keeping a distance shorter than the suggested 40 centimeters (about 16 inches) from the screen, and less than 20% were aware of the 20-20-20 rule (every 20 minutes look at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds). The sitting position was significantly associated with number of symptoms. Sitting with a bent back was almost 5 times more likely to cause more than three symptoms when compared to sitting upright with a straight back

The prevalence of computer vision syndrome is high. Most students have poor awareness regarding the safe use of electronic devices. Information to encourage better practices and enable the safe use of computers and other digital devices are strongly recommended.

Author Bio

Stephen Ornstein, D.C. has treated thousands of neck, shoulder and back conditions since graduating Sherman Chiropractic College in 1987 and during his involvement in Martial Arts. He holds certifications as a Peer Review Consultant from New York Chiropractic College, Physiological Therapeutics from National Chiropractic College, Modic Antibiotic Spinal Therapy from Dr. Hanne Albert, PT., MPH., Ph.D., Myofascial Release Techniques from Logan Chiropractic College, and learned Active Release Technique from the founder, P. Michael Leahy, DC, ART, CCSP.