The number of people who spend time in front of a computer monitor continues to grow each year.

And, each year, the number of people with computer visual stress symptoms also increases. What is computer visual stress and do you have it? If so, what can you do about it?

Our eyes are extremely important to us; they are used virtually every waking moment of the day. Much of what we learn from the time of birth forward is done visually, so it’s important to do what we can to take care of our vision.

As we spend more time in front of Video Display Terminals (VDTs), we may be putting our eyes at risk.

Computer Visual Stress Syndrome, or Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS), is a condition caused by spending too much time in front of a computer monitor. Symptoms include, but are not limited to:

  • Eyestrain which is defined as painful, uncomfortable, or irritable vision caused by visual or environmental conditions.
  • Headaches when viewing a VDT is one of the first signs that someone needs an eye exam and are often felt at the front of the head toward the end of the day.
  • Blurred vision (both near and distance) occurs when someone is unable to distinguish between two points where they are not clearly focused. Keeping a VDT clean is one possible easy fix for this problem.
  • Irritated or dry eyes are often caused by not blinking enough while working at a computer. They can also be caused when the eyes do not secrete enough tears to keep the eyes moist.
  • Sensitivity to light generally is a problem in artificially lit rooms. It can also be caused by glare from around the workplace.
  • Double vision occurs when the muscles pull the eyes toward each other which cause the vision to blur or become misaligned.
  • Neck or back ache often occurs when one is trying to accommodate a vision deficiency. This may be caused by not having the monitor at the correct distance or using glasses which makes one lean forward to bring the screen in focus.

In many cases, the problems associated with CVS can be attributed to improper work habits, not having the computer set up ergonomically, or from other vision problems. However, according to optometrists, nearly two-thirds of those with vision complaints also spend a large part of their day at their computer.

Computer Visual Stress Symptoms occurs because of the amount of time spent in front of a video display terminal. To eliminate or reduce the symptoms, have regular visual checkups, take several breaks throughout the day, and learn simple eye exercises to help keep your eyes healthy.