Published on: 28 Jun, 2021
Use of electronic screens continues to increase, even as COVID restrictions continue to ease and more of us move back to the workplace. Our patients who come in with symptoms of eyestrain, blurry vision and headaches are often diagnosed with Computer Vision Syndrome (“CVS”) and require special treatment. Due to the multiple factors associated with CVS we always consider the “whole system” while counseling our patients on how to manage their condition as completely as possible.
The human body is not designed to be able to comfortably stare at a monitor for 8-10 hours a day or more. The high energy involved with convergence (pointing the eyes inward towards an object), and focusing (activating the muscles within each eye) makes the visual system prone to rapid fatigue when using computer screens. Dry Eye Disease also has a strong association with extended computer use – simply, we blink less often which dries the surface of our eyes out more quickly, leading to changes within the eyes and eyelids over time. The rigidity of the upper body – including the neck and back – during prolonged screen viewing, can cause discomfort in these areas and often contributes to headaches.
A patient we see in our clinic with symptoms of discomfort and a history of prolonged, regular computer use is assessed as follows:
· Eye Teaming and Focusing Assessment – a problem in either of these areas will put a computer user at a disadvantage. Having the correct eyeglass or contact lens prescription is critical, as well as the right type of prescription lens for the task. There are office lenses, progressives, anti-fatigue lenses and others. Sometimes a corrective prism or relaxing element will be placed in a pair of glasses to solve the underlying issue. Other times we recommend vision therapy (specialized exercises for the eyes).
· Dry Eye Assessment – there are nine different types of classification for Dry Eye Disease. Identifying the specific type plus any other contributing factors is important before deciding on the therapeutic approach. Treatment for dry eyes is evolving rapidly – as you know we have a special interest in Dry Eye Disease management at MVO and we have many new solutions to discuss with you.
· Glare Tolerance – photophobia (light sensitivity) is a major source of discomfort while using electronic devices. Specialized tints and coatings in your glasses may be used to improve this.
· Ergonomic and Chiropractic Assessment – do you use a laptop, desktop, tablet, phone or combination? What is your head and neck posture while using each of these devices? Often a slight change in the position of your screens relative to your body can improve symptoms significantly. Get professional help to ensure everything is aligned, positioned correctly and working optimally. Check out West Valley Chiropractic in Cochrane. Dr. Aaron Todd and Amanda Tulk do a great job with their patients, many of whom (like ours) are heavy computer users.
Computer Vision Syndrome is often part of a larger, more involved scenario that should be properly and professionally assessed in order to provide effective, long lasting results from treatment. Book an eye exam today to get started and learn more about your own pathway to relief.
– Dr. Tom Wilk