Computer vision syndrome (CVS) is the combination of eye and vision problems associated with the use of computers. In modern western society the use of computers for both vocational and avocational activities is almost universal. However, CVS may have a significant impact not only on visual comfort but also occupational productivity since between 64% and 90% of computer users experience visual symptoms which may include eyestrain, headaches, ocular discomfort, dry eye, diplopia and blurred vision either at near or when looking into the distance after prolonged computer use. This paper reviews the principal ocular causes for this condition, namely oculomotor anomalies and dry eye. Accommodation and vergence responses to electronic screens appear to be similar to those found when viewing printed materials, whereas the prevalence of dry eye symptoms is greater during computer operation. The latter is probably due to a decrease in blink rate and blink amplitude, as well as increased corneal exposure resulting from the monitor frequently being positioned in primary gaze. However, the efficacy of proposed treatments to reduce symptoms of CVS is unproven. A better understanding of the physiology underlying CVS is critical to allow more accurate diagnosis and treatment. This will enable practitioners to optimize visual comfort and efficiency during computer operation.
Ophthalmic & Physiological Optics © 2011 The College of Optometrists.