What is Computer Vision Syndrome

Computer Vision Syndrome: Causes, Diagnosis, Symptoms & Treatments

Computer vision syndrome (CVS) is a growing concern among individuals who spend a significant amount of time on computers, smartphones, and other digital devices. With the rise of remote work and online learning, the average person is spending more time in front of screens than ever before. As a result, many people are experiencing eye strain, dry eyes, blurred vision, headaches, and neck and shoulder pain. These symptoms can be caused by a combination of factors, including glare, poor lighting, and the need to focus on a small screen for long periods of time.
In this blog, we will explore the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of CVS. We will also discuss the latest research and advancements in technology that are aimed at addressing the issue of CVS. Whether you’re a professional who spends hours in front of a computer, a student who is taking classes online, or simply someone who likes to spend time on their phone or tablet, this blog is for you. 

  • According to a survey conducted by the American Optometric Association, around 90% of adults in the United States use digital devices for more than two hours per day, and nearly 70% of adults experience symptoms of CVS. (Source).
  • A study published in the Journal of Ophthalmology found that among office workers, the prevalence of CVS was as high as 69.6%. (Source).
  • Another study published in the Journal of Ophthalmology reported that among students, the prevalence of CVS was as high as 72%. (Source).

What is Computer Vision Syndrome?

In the context of neuroscience, computer vision syndrome (CVS) is thought to be caused by the way the brain processes visual information from a computer screen. When we look at a computer screen, our eyes are focused at a fixed distance, and our eyes are required to make small, rapid movements called saccades to scan the screen. This can cause the eyes to fatigue, leading to symptoms of CVS.

The brain also has to process the visual information from the screen, which is often backlit and can cause glare. This can make it difficult for the brain to distinguish between different levels of contrast, leading to eye strain and headaches. Additionally, prolonged use of digital devices can cause a decrease in blink rate, which can lead to dry eyes and increase the risk of infection.

The way the brain process visual information is a complex process, it can be influenced by multiple factors such as visual acuity, the ability of the eye to focus, and the way the brain interprets the visual information. In CVS, the brain is overloaded with visual information, which can cause it to strain, resulting in symptoms like headaches, blurred vision, and neck and shoulder pain.

What are the main symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome?

The symptoms of CVS can vary from person to person, but some of the most common symptoms include:

Eye strain: 
  • This is the most common symptom of CVS. Eye strain can cause a feeling of tiredness, discomfort, and a burning or itching sensation in the eyes.
Dry eyes: 
  • Prolonged computer use can cause a decrease in blink rate, which can lead to dry eyes and increase the risk of infection.
Blurred vision: 
  • This can occur as a result of eye strain and can make it difficult to focus on the computer screen.
  • These can be caused by eye strain, muscle tension, and glare on the screen.
Neck and shoulder pain: 
  • Sitting in the same position for long periods of time can cause tension in the neck and shoulders.
  • Prolonged computer use can lead to mental and physical fatigue, making it difficult to concentrate.
  • Eye strain and fatigue can cause irritability and a lack of motivation.
Difficulty focusing: 
  • Prolonged computer use can cause difficulty focusing and can lead to symptoms such as double vision, dizziness, and difficulty switching focus from the computer screen to the surrounding environment.

What are the main causes of CVS?

The causes of Computer vision syndrome (CVS) can be broadly categorized as visual and environmental. The visual causes include the way the eyes focus and move when looking at a screen and the way the brain processes visual information from the screen. Environmental causes include the distance and angle of the screen, the lighting in the room, and the glare on the screen.

Some of the main visual causes of CVS include

  • Prolonged near work: Spending long hours focusing on a screen can cause the eyes to fatigue, leading to symptoms of CVS.
  • Accommodative dysfunction: The eyes have difficulty adjusting to the different distances of the screen and surrounding objects, leading to eye strain.
  • Convergence insufficiency: The eyes have trouble working together when looking at a screen, leading to double vision, headaches, and eye fatigue.

Some of the main environmental causes of CVS include

  • Poor lighting: Bright or flickering lights in the room can cause glare on the screen, making it difficult to see and leading to eye strain.
  • Uncorrected vision problems: People with uncorrected vision problems like nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism may experience more symptoms of CVS.
  • Incorrect screen positioning: Sitting too close or too far from the screen, or having the screen at the wrong angle, can cause eye strain, neck and shoulder pain, and headaches.

It’s worth noting that CVS is a multi-factorial condition and a combination of these factors can contribute to the development of the condition.

How does CVS get diagnosed?

Computer vision syndrome (CVS) is generally diagnosed based on a patient’s symptoms and their history of computer use. A comprehensive eye examination by an optometrist or ophthalmologist is usually the first step in diagnosing CVS. 

During the examination, the doctor will look for signs of eye strain, dry eyes, and other symptoms associated with CVS. They may also check the patient’s visual acuity, check the patient’s eye movements, and measure the patient’s near point of convergence.

The doctor may also perform additional tests to diagnose CVS such as:

  • Visual field test: This test checks for any blind spots or areas of decreased vision.
  • Refraction: This test measures the patient’s need for glasses or contact lenses.
  • Color vision test: This test checks for any color vision deficiencies.
  • Ocular motility test: This test checks for any problems with eye movements, including double vision.

The best treatment options for CVS

Treatment options for CVS vary depending on the underlying cause of the symptoms, but can include a combination of the following:

  • Vision therapy: This may include exercises to improve the eyes’ ability to focus and move, as well as training to help the eyes work together more effectively.
  • Environmental changes: Adjusting the lighting in the room, positioning the computer screen at the correct distance and angle, and reducing glare on the screen can help to alleviate symptoms of CVS.
  • Medications: Artificial tears or lubricating eye drops can be used to relieve dry eyes.
  • Ergonomic changes: Making changes to the workstation, such as adjusting the chair and keyboard position, can help to reduce muscle tension and neck and shoulder pain.
  • Occupational therapy: This may involve teaching patients how to adjust their work habits, such as taking regular breaks, to minimize the risk of developing CVS.
  • Surgery: In severe cases, surgery may be recommended, such as LASIK or PRK to correct refractive errors.

It’s important to note that treatment for CVS should be tailored to the individual patient and their specific symptoms. It may involve a combination of different treatment options, and may require a multidisciplinary approach, involving an optometrist or ophthalmologist, ergonomist, and occupational therapist. Regular follow-up visits with the doctor are also important to monitor the progress of treatment and make any necessary adjustments.

What are the latest technological innovations in the treatment of computer vision syndrome?

There have been several technological innovations in recent years aimed at treating computer vision syndrome (CVS) and reducing the symptoms associated with prolonged computer use. Some of the latest innovations include:

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning algorithms: These technologies are being used to develop software that can track and analyze a person’s eye movements and blink rate while they use a computer, in order to identify patterns that may contribute to CVS. This technology can also be used to create personalized treatment plans based on an individual’s specific symptoms.
  • Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) devices: These devices can be used to provide vision therapy exercises that can help to improve the eyes’ ability to focus and move, as well as train the eyes to work together more effectively.
  • Blue light filtering glasses: These glasses use special filters to block the blue light emitted by computer screens, which can cause eye strain and disrupt sleep patterns.
  • Smartphone apps: Many apps have been developed to remind users to take regular breaks, adjust their screen settings, and perform vision exercises to prevent CVS.
  • Smart glasses: some smart glasses have been developed specifically to alleviate symptoms of CVS by reducing glare, adjusting the contrast and brightness on the screen, and tracking the user’s eye movements.

The Bynocs solution to Computer Vision Syndrome

At Bynocs, we will assign eyecare professionals to thoroughly analyze the nature of your CVS and accordingly plan your treatment. We have the expertise, facility, and solutions to provide a complete treatment with a combination of eye health monitoring software, VR/AR and video-game-based vision therapy solutions, and specialized glasses.

As mentioned previously, our eyes tend to burn out and fatigue when focusing at a fixed distance for a longer period of time; which is the usual case with working on computer screens. This repeated eye-fatigue can cause improper coordination between both eyes, and eye-brain interaction related to it. 

At Bynocs, we can provide personalized Dichoptic video-game vision therapies. These video-game-based therapies and VR glasses present different images to each eye, and the brain is forced to process the visual information from both eyes simultaneously. This can help to improve the brain’s ability to process visual information more efficiently, which can lead to a reduction in symptoms associated with CVS.

Dichoptic-therapy-based vision therapies have been shown to be effective in improving visual symptoms associated with CVS, including eye strain, blurred vision, and double vision.

We also have visual treatment software and dedicated eyecare professionals to track and monitor the specific causes of your CVS. And, accordingly plan a treatment that uniquely addresses your ocular, neural, and circumstantial shortcomings.

Get in touch with our eye care professionals and let’s start planning the treatment of your Computer Vision Syndrome!