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Eye Strain No Longer Limited to Hours of Computer Viewing

Eye strain, fatigue and headaches are common indicators that your digital devices – including computer monitors, smart phones and video games – might be causing you discomfort.

According to recent research with VSP Vision Care eye doctors, 33 percent reported that nearly one-third or more of their patients suffer from symptoms of computer vision syndrome (CVS) or digital device-related vision problems. The most common symptoms of patients suffering from CVS include eye strain (82 percent), dry or irritated eyes (74 percent), fatigue (70 percent) and headaches (61 percent). Yet, two in three eye doctors report 20 percent or fewer of their patients even know what CVS is, showing a low level of understanding of the condition.

Computer Vision Syndrome is a serious condition that can have a major impact on work productivity and learning capacity. As 6 hours is the average time spent in front of a digital device, American workers alone are spending in excess of 200 billion hours a year in front of a digital screen.

“Computer vision syndrome is a major problem for Americans,” said Dr. Nate Bonilla-Warford, VSP provider. “For professionals with this condition, work productivity can decrease by as much as 20 percent. We are seeing patients uncomfortable in the workplace with neck pain, headaches, eye strain, blurred vision, etc. that could easily be avoided. It’s important for people to discuss their digital usage with their eye doctor and make sure they are getting annual eye exams.”

VSP Vision Care recommends the following tips to help lessen the symptoms of computer-related eye strain:

  • Blink Often: When looking at a computer or hand-held digital device, it’s common for you to blink two to three times less than you normally would. This can lead to “dry eye.” Blinking bathes your eyes in tears, and tears are naturally therapeutic for the eyes.
  • The 20/20/20 Rule: When spending long periods in front of a digital device, every 20 minutes, spend 20 seconds looking at something 20 feet away to allow your eyes to rest.
  • Ensure Proper Lighting: Poor lighting often causes eye strain. To help ease the strain on your eyes, keep bright lighting overhead to a minimum and position your desk lamp to shine on your desk, and not at you. Position your computer screen in a way that reduces reflections and glare from windows or overhead lights.

“Today, digital device eye strain is the number one computer-related complaint ahead of carpal-tunnel, neck and back pain,” Bonilla-Warford continued. “Eye doctors are trained to help patients mitigate the symptoms of computer vision syndrome, and can even offer computer vision glasses, which are prescribed glasses that provide the optimal lens power for viewing your computer screen at the correct distance, without the need for excessive focusing or squinting.”

For more information about computer-related vision problems visit the “My Eyes” tab at

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