FAQ: Computer Vision Syndrome

What is computer vision syndrome?

Computer vision syndrome, or CVS, is the discomfort or symptoms caused by focusing on a computer or technological device for a long and uninterrupted time.

Common symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Loss of Focus
  • Burning Eyes
  • Tired eyes
  • Red Eyes
  • Double Vision
  • Eye Twitching
  • Blurred Vision
  • Neck and Shoulder Pain

Commonly Asked Questions

What causes Computer Vision Syndrome?

Characters, when read on a computer screen, don’t have the same level of contrast and definition as printed materials. This lack of contrast makes it harder for your eyes to focus. When your eyes and brain react differently to the various characters on a computer screen than on a print, you can develop symptoms of eye strain like blurred vision or headaches.

Who is affected?

Anyone working on a computer for extended periods has an increased risk of developing computer vision syndrome. When you stare at a screen, you are forcing your eyes to focus and refocus for long periods. As a result, your eyes are using more muscles, causing fatigue and tired eyes.

What can I do to reduce symptoms?

It’s easy! Talk to your eye doctor about their recommendations on how you can handle CVS. Your eye doctor may do a few tests to detect vision problems that may worsen your symptoms. Depending on the results, your doctor may recommend computer eyewear to protect your eyes or tips and tricks habits to reduce your symptoms.

For example, try practicing the 20/20/20 rule when using digital devices for an extended period. Every 20 minutes, look 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This exercise gives your eyes a break from the continued work of focusing on your computer screen.

Finding a Solution

What is Computer Eyewear?

Computer eyewear are prescription glasses specifically designed for work on a computer. Generally speaking, these lenses enable you to focus better on a computer screen, which is usually at about 20in from your eyes.

Are there Different Types of Computer Lenses?

Yes! When shopping for the right pair of computer eyewear, ask us about the different options. Computer lenses are available in both single vision and progressive lens options to fit your vision needs.

I don’t have Computer Vision Syndrome now. Should I still look into computer eyeglasses?

Yes. Even though you may not have computer vision syndrome now, you can still develop symptoms down the road. Many individuals experience reduced productivity and accuracy when working behind a screen, even without vision problems.

Do you have more questions about computer vision syndrome and the possible solutions that you can take? Contact our office today and ask us your vision questions!

Children and Myopia Control

Today, Myopia presents itself at an earlier age in more children than in the past. Studies have shown that part of the increase in nearsightedness is because more people are doing work up close; this isn’t just a computer and increased screen time, though–reading for long periods can also impact your eyes.

There are four options your eye doctor may use for myopia control in children.

Atropine Eye Drops

Myopia occurs when your eye is too long, or your cornea is too curved. The light that enters your eye has a harder time focusing the way it should, and this results in blurred vision. When you use atropine eye drops, you’re temporarily dilating your pupil, which relaxes your eyes’ focusing ability, making it easier to see. The recommended dosage is .01. At this dosage, side effects typically are not noticeable.

Multifocal Contacts

The primary use of multifocal contacts is to help achieve clear vision at all distances. According to studies, children who wore multifocal contacts had a 50% reduction in the advancement of Myopia compared to children who stuck with traditional soft contacts.

Multifocal Eyeglasses

Like multifocal contacts, multifocal eyeglasses intend to help you gain a clearer vision regardless of the distance. These glasses have two parts, one being the top, which allows you to see objects far away. The second part is on the bottom of your lenses and assists when you read. These glasses slow the progression of Myopia.

Orthokeratology

Orthokeratology is a treatment that uses a gas-permeable contact lens to reshape the corneal surface on your eye temporarily. A patient wears these lenses overnight, reshaping the front surface of the eye so vision is clear upon waking up. This treatment is temporary, and the effects of the overnight treatment will usually last throughout the day.

Do you want to take the next steps in ensuring your child has full potential regarding his/her vision? Contact our office today to ask our staff any questions you have about your child’s next appointment.

Are online eye tests any good?

Have you considered getting online eye tests? The idea of being able to get an eyeglass prescription and buy glasses without a trip to the eye doctor may sound appealing. Before ditching the traditional eye exams, there are a few things you need to know!

Online Eye Tests

The most important thing to know about online eye tests is they do not evaluate the health of your eyes. Even if they are called “online eye exams,” these exams only measure your visual acuity and refractive error. Some online eye tests can check for contrast sensitivity and color blindness. However, none of this can tell the health of your eyes.

The only way to know the complete health of your eyes is through eye exams with your doctor. During an eye exam, your doctor can detect vision-threatening conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma, or macular degeneration. Early detection of these conditions can prevent vision loss and blindness.

Know The Risks:

  • Online eye exams cannot detect eye diseases
  • Improper testing can occur due to error or misreading instructions
  • Higher chance of getting incorrect prescription due to self-administered the eye test
  • If you think the prescription is incorrect, your only option is to pay again and retake the test
  • An eyecare professional is not present to answer questions or concerns

Validation of Online Eye Tests

The results of online eye tests have not been guaranteed to be accurate measures of your prescription. Due to this being relatively new technology, there have not been enough studies to determine the reliability and validity of online eye tests.

Additionally, many online eye tests say their technology is suitable only for people between the ages 18 and 40 who are in good health. The limitations of the eye test raise concerns to the overall validity of the test. For these reasons, we do not recommend them as your sole option for your receiving your prescription.

The best way to ensure your eyes are healthy, you receive the correct prescription, and get answers to all your questions is through face-to-face eye exams with your eye doctor. Our staff of trained eyecare professionals will help you through every step of the process. Our office is here to address any questions or concerns you may have.

Who Gets Macular Degeneration?

Macular degeneration is the deterioration of the macula, the small central area of the eye that controls visual acuity. Typically developing macular degeneration is a slow, painless vision loss.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)

Macular degeneration is often referred to as age-related macular degeneration because it most frequently occurs in older generations. Macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss among older Americans and will grow significantly in the years to come due to the aging of the US population.

Populations Affected

The prevalence of macular degeneration increases significantly in individuals over the age of 80. In particular, the white American population is affected the most, with 14% of white Americans age 80 and older affected by AMD.*  Women also have a higher occurrence of AMD as compared to men due to their longer life expectancy. In 2010, 65% of AMD cases occurred in women as compared to only 35% in men.*

Risk factors

  • Obesity: Overweight patients with macular degeneration double their risk of developing advanced forms of macular degeneration.
  • Inactivity: Those who perform vigorous activity three times weekly reduce their risk for developing AMD compared to inactive patients.
  • Heredity: Family history and specific genes can link to a high risk of developing AMD.
  • High blood pressure: Some studies show a link between high blood pressure and macular degeneration.
  • Smoking: Living with a smoker doubles your risk for developing AMD. Smoking is a factor in about 25% of AMD cases with severe vision loss.

Currently, the best way to protect your eyes from developing macular degeneration is to eat healthy, exercise, and wear sunglasses. Annual eye exams can detect the early onset of macular degeneration and help to preserve your vision. Schedule an appointment with our office today!

*National Eye Institute, 2010

Vision Changes As You Age

As we age, our bodies experience declines in overall performance, including the performance of our eyes. The age-related vision changes become more noticeable as we reach age 60 and older. Some vision changes are entirely normal and do not indicate disease, whereas others may be indications of major eye diseases. This is why eye exams become particularly important when you reach age 50!

Presbyopia

Presbyopia is an ordinary loss of focusing ability, typically noticed after the age of 40. The lens inside your eye hardens as you age and causes difficulty focusing on objects up close. The first signs of presbyopia are often holding a phone or reading material farther away from your eyes. As you age, presbyopia will worsen. Eventually, it requires reading glasses, progressive lenses, or multifocal contact lenses to focus on objects up close.

Structures of the Eye

As individuals age, the structures of the eye can lose strength or desensitize which causes your vision to change. These are often subtle changes over time and make slight impacts on vision.

Pupil Size

Muscles that control pupil size and reaction lose strength over time, causing the pupil to become smaller and less reactive to light.

Dry Eyes

Our bodies produce fewer tears as we age. Women after menopause may experience worse dry eye symptoms than others.

Peripheral Vision

It is normal to experience some loss of peripheral vision. The average decrease in the visual field is 1-3 degrees per decade of life.

Color Vision

The cells responsible for color vision decline in sensitivity as we age, which can cause colors to appear less bright.

Vitreous Detachment

The gel-like substance in your eye, called vitreous, begins to liquefy as you age. It is potentially causing spots and floaters in your vision.

As you age, you should expect vision changes. However, the only way to ensure those changes are normal and not due to eye disease is through comprehensive eye exams with your eye doctor. Additionally, the standard recommendation is for individuals over age 50 to have annual eye exams to protect the health of their eyes.

Prescription, Polarized, and Performance Sunglasses

Sunglasses help protect your eyes from the harmful UV rays from the sun. The most important feature to look for in sunglasses is blocking 100% of UVA and UVB rays. However, there are many other features of sunglasses you can select to meet the needs of your lifestyle. Here is a brief overview of prescription, polarized, and performance sunglasses.

Prescription Sunglasses

All prescription sunglasses purchased from our office protect your eyes from harmful UV rays of the sun and block 100% of UV rays. Prescription sunglasses are an excellent option for both glasses and contact lens wearers in many situations. Try keeping a pair of prescription sunglasses in your car so you are able to remove your glasses and switch to prescription sunglasses easily. These sunglasses will provide you with vision correction, minimized glare, and dimmed the brightness of the sun.

Contact Lens Wearers

Prescription sunglasses are a great solution for contact lens wearers when swimming at the pool or beach. It is not recommended to swim in contact lenses, so prescription sunglasses make an excellent alternative for clear vision during these activities.

Polarized Sunglasses

Polarized sunglasses have always been popular with boaters and fishers to reduce reflected glare from the water. However, others like hikers, bikers, golfers, and joggers also benefit greatly from polarized sunglasses. Polarized sunglasses optimize your vision for safety and performance by eliminating glare caused from light reflected off flat surfaces. Polarized lenses improve comfort and visibility. These lenses are also great for driving because they help reduce glare from the hoods of cars and off the road’s surface.

Performance Sunglasses

The goal of performance sunglasses is to provide you with the best vision possible under all conditions. These glasses are designed to be lightweight, flexible, durable materials, no-slip, and have lens color variations. Performance sunglasses are great for sports such as mountain biking, snowboarding, rock climbing, kayaking, skiing, golfing and in-line skating. While performance sunwear is most often used by athletes, they are also helpful for those who work outdoors, do a lot of driving, or are in the military.

Popular features of performance sunglasses include anti-reflective coating and changeable lenses. The anti-reflective coating applied to back surface of lenses to eliminate glare from light reflecting off the back of lenses when the sun is behind you. Changeable lenses allow you to switch out your lenses for the tint that will best match the lighting conditions for the day.

Selecting the best sunglasses for you is highly dependent on the needs of your lifestyle. Do you need help deciding the best type of sunglasses for your lifestyle? Contact our office we are happy to assist you in your sunglasses selection!

Nutrition and Your Eyes

The foods you eat and the dietary supplements you take affect your overall health and the health of your eyes. Nutrition and your eyes are linked together and can help prevent certain eye diseases along with other health problems.

Healthy Foods

Choosing healthy foods improves your overall health as well as your eye health. Dark green or brightly colored fruits and vegetables are essential parts of a healthy diet. These fruits and vegetables may also help to reduce the risks of developing eye diseases. Sugars and white flours may increase your risk of age-related eye disease, instead, opt for whole grains which do not have the same risks. Healthy fats containing omega-3 essential fatty acids are critical to your diet. These healthy fats can help prevent dry eyes and cataracts.

Hydration

Staying hydrated is essential to the health of your eyes. Drink plenty of water every day! We also recommend choosing healthy beverages and avoiding high sugar beverages. Proper hydration is linked to the reduction of dry eye symptoms.

Nutrients

Nutrients are an essential part of a healthy diet. These nutrients can be found in foods but can also be taken in supplements to ensure you are receiving the proper amount in your diet. Consult with your primary care provider before taking any dietary supplements. Here are a few nutrients that may have a link to eye health:

  • Vitamin A: may protect against night blindness and dry eyes
  • Omega 3 fatty acids: may prevent macular degeneration and dry eyes
  • Vitamin C: may reduce risks of cataracts and macular degeneration
  • Vitamin D: may reduce risks of macular degeneration
  • Zinc: may reduce risks of night blindness
  • Vitamin E: may reduce the risk of advanced macular degeneration

Aging Eyes

As you age, it is essential to consider all factors that could affect the overall health of your eyes. Not only should you adopt a healthy diet, but you can also do several other things to protect your eyes. One way to protect your eyes is to avoid overexposure to ultraviolet rays, which includes wearing sunglasses outdoors and staying away from tanning beds. Now is the time to quit smoking, not only is smoking harmful to your overall health it also increased your risks for many eye diseases. Finally, ensure that you are getting annual eye exams to detect any eye diseases before they cause permanent vision loss.

Nutrition and your eyes are highly connected, continue to find ways to feed your body the food and nutrients it needs to live a healthy life with healthy eyes.

Smoking and Your Vision

Smoking harms nearly every organ in your body, including your eyes. It is the most significant preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States. If you smoke, you have a higher risk of developing several eye diseases.

Cataracts

Cataracts are a clouding of the lens in your eye, and the leading cause of blindness in the world. Smokers have double the chance of forming cataracts compared to non-smokers.

Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is the deterioration of the macula in your eye, which impacts central vision. If you smoke, you are three times more likely to develop macular degeneration. Consequently, female smokers over age 80 are 5.5 times more likely than nonsmokers of the same age.

Uveitis

Uveitis is the inflammation of the eyes middle layer called the uvea. As a result, it harms the iris, retina, and can eventually result in blindness. Smokers have 2.2 times greater risk of developing uveitis.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Those who smoke and have diabetes have increased the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy damages the blood vessels in the retina and can result in vision loss. Smoking double the risk of developing diabetes, therefore, increasing your risk for diabetic retinopathy and other diabetic eye diseases.

Dry Eyes

Dry eye is when you do not have enough tears on the eyes surface, causing itchy and red eyes. Smoke is considered an eye irritant, consequently worsening dry eye symptoms for many. Therefore, those who smoke are twice as likely to experience dry eye and individuals who experience second-hand smoke are more likely to suffer from dry eye as well.

Infant Eye Disease

Smoking during pregnancy transmits toxins to the placenta and can harm the unborn child. As a result, smoking increases the chance of many fetal and infant eye disorders.

Infant Eye Disorders

  • strabismus
  • underdeveloped optic nerve
  • premature birth
  • retinopathy of prematurity
  • potential blindness

 

The best way to decrease your risk for developing these eye diseases is to quit smoking. It is never too late, at any age you can reduce your risk of developing these sight-threatening eye conditions. Contact our office to discuss the impact of smoking on your vision.

*All statistics are from https://www.allaboutvision.com/smoking/

Computer Vision Syndrome: Eye Strain

According to The Vision Council, 65% of adults experience some form of computer vision syndrome. Often individuals associate eye strain as a “normal” part of computer work. However, the eye strain you are experiencing is a symptom of computer vision syndrome and can be reduced or avoided!

What is Computer Vision Syndrome?

Computer vision syndrome is caused by the eyes and brain reacting to the characters on a computer screen. On-screen characters have less contrast than characters in print and are more challenging for our eyes to focus on. The difficulty of having to focus on the characters on computer screens is what causes eye fatigue and strain.

Symptoms of CVS

Depending on the individual they may experience one, several, or all symptoms of computer vision syndrome. These symptoms can cause discomfort for the individual and make it difficult to complete work effectively.

  • Headaches
  • Loss of focus
  • Burning eyes
  • Tired eyes
  • Red eyes
  • Double vision
  • Eye twitching
  • Blurred vision
  • Neck and shoulder pain

Ways to Combat CVS

Many computer users find their eyes feel strained working under fluorescent lights. Users feel more eye comfort when using floor lamps instead of harsh overhead lights. Minimize the reflection of glare off your computer screen by installing an anti-glare screen on your monitor. Consider closing the blinds to prevent the sun from reflecting off your computer screen as well.

The type of screen and settings of your screen can also impact your eye strain. We recommend making sure you have an LCD screen because it has an anti-reflective surface and is more comfortable for the eyes.

Additionally, you can adjust the settings of your screen for optimal viewing. A few settings to adjust are the brightness, text, and color temperature. The brightness should be the same as your surrounding workstation, the text size and contrast can be changed to your comfort level, and reducing the color temperature lowers the amount of blue light emitted by your screen.

Computer Eyewear

One of the best ways to reduce your risk of computer vision syndrome is to visit our office. Your eye doctor can perform a few tests to detect vision problems which could be contributing to your computer vision syndrome and help decide if computer eyewear is the solution for you. Many individuals discover computer eyewear helps reduce their symptoms and improves their productivity.

Schedule an appointment with our office to discuss the impact computer work is having on your eyes and the best ways to reduce your eye strain and fatigue.

 

Bad Habits: Aging Your Eyes

Do you feel like your eyes have aged? Some bad habits can make your eyes appear more aged than they are. The best way to preserve your eye health and appearance is to cut these bad habits out of your life!bits out of your life!

Rubbing Your Eyes

There are tiny blood vessels under their skin around your eyes, excessive rubbing can cause these vessels to break. As a result, you may notice dark circles, puffy eyes, premature crows feet, and drooping eyelids. We recommend you refrain from pulling or tugging this skin because it is very sensitive. If your eyes are irritated, place a damp cloth on them instead of rubbing.

Not Wearing Sunglasses

Protecting your eyes from the harmful UV rays of the sun helps your eyes to stay healthy and young. If you don’t wear sunglasses, you could damage the eyes or sunburn the eyelids. Additionally, you increase your risk for eye diseases such as cataracts, macular degeneration, pinguecula, and pterygium. To keep your eyes healthy, youthful, and safe wear sunglasses that block 100% of UV rays.

Smoking

Smoking is linked to eye diseases such as cataracts, macular degeneration, uveitis, dry eye, and diabetic retinopathy. This is a bad habit that drastically ages your eyes. Smokers are four times more likely to go blind than nonsmokers. Quitting smoking, no matter what your age, reduces your risk of developing severe eye conditions.

Not Sleeping Enough

Your eyes can appear aged if you don’t get enough sleep. Consequently, a lack of sleep can cause red bloodshot eyes, dark circles under the eyes, eye twitching, dry eyes, and blurry vision. Not sleeping is a bad habit for your overall health and wellbeing.

Dehydration

Not drinking water can make you dehydrated. When you are dehydrated your eyes do not produce enough tears. As a result, you may experience symptoms of dry eye.

Not Visiting Your Eye Doctor

The last bad habit you need to change is not visiting your eye doctor. Many eye diseases can go undetected and cause harm before you are even aware of changes in your vision. Some eye diseases have no warning signs and can cause irreversible vision loss. Regular visits to your eye doctor are the best way to protect the health of your eyes, detect vision problems, and find possible eye disease. Don’t forget to inform us of any family history that can help to protect the health of your eyes.

Eliminating these bad habits from your life can help to improve eye health and maintain a youthful appearance. Give us a call today to schedule your regular eye exam.

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