In May, Canada celebrates Vision Health Month, an initiative by the government in cooperation with optometrists from around the country, to promote eye health.
Eye health remains a field of concern for most Canadians. In fact, according to the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, 1 in 7 Canadians will encounter severe vision problems in their lifetime. This alone makes eye health a concerning issue for most Canadians.
The good news is, with Canada’s effective and efficient healthcare system, many Canadians don’t have to worry about getting help for their eye issues, regardless of how specific the condition may be. One particular eye issue that has become rampant over the past few years is CVS or computer vision syndrome.
CVS as a medical condition is still fairly new, but optometrists are fast developing effective treatments to combat this modern malady. In Canada, Eye doctors in Hamilton, for example, have treatment options designed specifically for CVS.
But first, let’s take a closer look at CVS.
What is Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS)?
Simply put, computer vision syndrome is an eye problem caused by looking at a computer or digital screen for too long. Computer vision syndrome, or CVS, is not just one particular symptom; instead, it’s a range of symptoms that can encompass anything from eye strain to blurry vision.
Doctors believe that CVS, also known as digital eye strain, is caused by an excess of the same type of movement by the eye, much like carpal tunnel syndrome for the hand. Because the eye follows the same path over and over again when looking at a computer screen, it can develop repetitive strain injury.
On top of the repetitive movement of the eye, the iris and the lens of the eyes work overtime, too. Our eyes constantly adjust and refocus every time we look at a computer screen because of the type of blue light that digital devices use. This light, which is at the end of the blue-violet spectrum, emits a higher energy which may be more difficult for the eyes to focus on.
The symptoms of CVS, however, are sometimes overlooked. This is because a lot of these symptoms mimic the ones people feel when they’re tired: headaches, dizziness, neck and back pain, among other things.
How Do I Minimize the Effects of Computer Vision Syndrome?
There are multiple ways to minimize the effects of CVS. First, doctors recommend taking a break from staring at a screen every few minutes. Giving your eyes time to rest from the constant focusing and re-focusing on a computer screen can go a long way to minimizing strain.
Next, set up an anti-glare film on your device to minimize the effects of excessive blue light. Most digital devices have an option that allows users to set the level of blue light they can see. Another effective counter-measure against CVS is adjusting the angle from which you’re viewing the screen.
Experts at Stoney Creek Eye Care suggest keeping to the 20-20-20-20 rule: keep your device 20 inches away from your eyes, take 20-second breaks every 20 minutes by focusing on an object that is 20 feet away. They also suggest seeing your optometrist as soon as you feel any of the symptoms listed above, in order to address issues early.
Stoney Creek Eye Care can diagnose CVS during comprehensive eye examinations. Their optometrists will ask specific questions regarding the level of device usage in order to give a customized, task-specific prescription for patients. Contact us today to schedule an examination.