Computer Vision Syndrome

Staring at a computer screen, smartphone, video game or other digital devices for long periods of time can cause eye strain or eye fatigue and can exacerbate underlying dry eye symptoms. Studies have shown that more than 2-3 hours of constant near work can lead to CVS or eye fatigue in more than 90% of patients.

In this time of the COVID pandemic so many of our interactions and work activities have shifted onto electronic devices. Consistent use of devices, while making your lives easier, can also cause significant eye strain and affect your quality of life.

Computer vision syndrome can present with one or more of the following signs or symptoms:

  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Red eyes
  • Eye fatigue and/or tiredness
  • Eye strain
  • Eye irritation
  • Difficulty refocusing

Some simple measures can be taken at home to alleviate this problem. First, it’s important to follow the 20-20-20 rule: while doing near work, take a break every 20 minutes look at an object 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. Also, keep a bottle of artificial tears nearby to lubricate your eyes while at the computer. There are many different brands available such as Refresh, Systane, Genteal, and Retaine. If you intend to use them more than 4-6 times per day we recommend a preservative-free drop to reduce further irritation. In addition, lower your computer screen height so that you are looking down and your eyelids are decreasing the surface area from which tears can evaporate. 

Despite these measures, if you are still having symptoms you need to know that you do not have to suffer from dry eye disease any longer. At North Georgia Eye we have advanced techniques for diagnosing and treating dry eye symptoms. Please visit one of our eye care providers to discuss your options.

This article was written by Sheetal M. Shah, MD, an Ophthalmologist at our Braselton and Gainesville locations. Please read her full bio on our doctors page.