Beware Computer Vision Syndrome

By Dr. Thomas A. Noël

Most people, when considering occupational hazards, would think of dangerous professions or perilous working conditions. However, what you may not realize is that your humdrum working conditions may be making you ill.

In the past 20 years, with the advent of ever more advanced technology in the workplace, optometrists have seen an increase in the number of patients complaining of headaches, blurred vision and tired eyes. Though these are not uncommon visual concerns, there is often one common denominator: daily computer usage. In most workplaces today, the computer is a vital tool required to perform daily tasks. In fact, more than 82 per cent of the population uses a computer daily, and among the working population,  one out of two people spends more  than three hours in front of various types of screens.

Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) is a real and emerging problem for a significant segment of the active population. CVS is characterized by eyestrain, burning eyes, dry eyes, blurred vision, headaches, neck pain, and shoulder pain. Left unaddressed, CVS can result in chronic discomfort.

Presbyopes (progressive lens wearers) are those who are typically most affected by CVS, as the ability to accommodate vision at varying distances is compromised. This population, typically aged 40 and older, consists of progressive lens wearers who hold office jobs requiring frequent or prolonged computer use. Although the progressive lens is an excellent tool for seeing clearly at many distances, it is not ideal for significant amounts of time spent at the computer or reading.

In response to the change in user habits, most major lens manufacturers have evolved their product line to include more comfortable ophthalmic lens solutions for computer use.

Computer lenses, also known as an  occupational lens or a “business lens”,  are no-line bifocal lenses which allow for a variation of powers throughout  the lens, providing optimum vision between near media and the computer screen.

Though not designed for use away from the desk, patients often tell me of the additional benefits of computer lenses, and in particular of the larger field of vision at near and at intermediate distances. As well as making computer work and reading clearer in the office environment, newspaper reading and many hand-held hobbies such as needle-point, sewing and woodwork are facilitated with the use of these types of lenses.

As a supplementary pair of eyeglasses, computer lenses are successful in reducing the impacts of CVS. By adapting the focal length of the lens  according to the distance between the patient and his/her monitor, Da AY DRI computer lens allows for the ideal  prescription to be optimally aligned in front of their eyes. In correlation with a quality anti-reflective coating, this  prescription correction will reduce eye fatigue and eyestrain.

If you find your eyes are sore, dry and tired at the end of the day, or if you experience difficulty focusing at the computer, consult your optometrist. In addition to assessing your visual needs, your optometrist will be able to explain what lenses will best benefit your lifestyle.

Why suffer needlessly?