Certain expressions like ‘JET AGE’, ‘INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY (ICT)’, and ‘GLOBAL VILLAGE’ may sound familiar. One thing that is common with these expressions is COMPUTER! Only recently, there has been a high enthusiasm for the use of smart devices such as tablets, I pads and phones howbeit at the expense of our eyes. The use of computers and smart devices are not without consequences.
Computer vision syndrome (CVS) is a group of eye and vision-related problems arising from prolonged and extended period of computer use and by extension smart devices. It has also been dubbed “digital eye strain” in some quarters. According to statistics, 90% of people who spend an average of 3 or more hours on the computer experience computer vision syndrome. Obvious differences exist between reading a book and viewing a computer. In contrast to reading a book, there is glare and reflections, reduced level of contrast, increased viewing distance (and angle), and letters/characters are not precise or sharply defined on the computer screen. All these place additional visual demand on the user of the computer and smart devices.
Symptoms experienced by people with CVS includes one or more of the following: headaches, eyestrain, blurred vision, redness of the eyes, irritation of the eyes, dry eyes, double vision, neck and/or shoulder pain, fatigue, light sensitivity, burning eyes, difficulty refocusing the eyes etc.
Certain eye and environmental/office conditions can contribute to the development or even aggravates CVS. The eye conditions includes uncorrected vision problems like farsightedness and astigmatism, inadequate eye focusing or eye coordination abilities, aging changes of the eyes e.g. presbyopia. Environmental/office conditions include improper viewing distance, improper light conditions (overhead lighting or glare), improper seating posture, air moving past the eyes e.g. from vents or fan etc.
In our next write-up, the management of computer vision syndrome (CVS) will be addressed.
Dr Ukachukwu F. U