Topic: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of interventions for treating eye strain related to computer use relative to placebo or no treatment.
Clinical relevance: Computer use is pervasive and often associated with eye strain, referred to as computer vision syndrome (CVS). Currently, no clinical guidelines exist to help practitioners provide evidence-based advice about CVS treatments, many of which are marketed directly to patients. This systematic review and meta-analysis was designed to help inform best practice for eye care providers.
Methods: Eligible randomized controlled trials (RCTs) were identified in Ovid MEDLINE, Embase, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and trial registries, searched from inception through November 23, 2021. Eligible studies were appraised for risk of bias and were synthesized. The certainty of the body of evidence was judged using the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development, and Evaluation system. Standardized mean differences (SMDs) were used when differently scaled measures were combined.
Results: Forty-five RCTs, involving 4497 participants, were included. Multifocal lenses did not improve visual fatigue scores compared with single-vision lenses (3 RCTs; SMD, 0.11; 95% confidence interval [CI], -0.14 to 0.37; P = 0.38). Visual fatigue symptoms were not reduced by blue-blocking spectacles (3 RCTs), with evidence judged of low certainty. Relative to placebo, oral berry extract supplementation did not improve visual fatigue (7 RCTs; SMD, -0.27; 95% CI, -0.70 to 0.16; P = 0.22) or dry eye symptoms (4 RCTs; SMD, -0.10; 95% CI, -0.54 to 0.33; P = 0.65). Likewise, berry extract supplementation had no significant effects on critical flicker-fusion frequency (CFF) or accommodative amplitude. Oral omega-3 supplementation for 45 days to 3 months improved dry eye symptoms (2 RCTs; mean difference [MD], -3.36; 95% CI, -3.63 to -3.10 on an 18 unit scale; P < 0.00001) relative to placebo. Oral carotenoid supplementation improved CFF (2 RCTs; MD, 1.55 Hz; 95% CI, 0.42 to 2.67 Hz; P = 0.007) relative to placebo, although the clinical significance of this finding is unclear.
Discussion: We did not identify high-certainty evidence supporting the use of any of the therapies analyzed. Low-certainty evidence suggested that oral omega-3 supplementation reduces dry eye symptoms in symptomatic computer users.
Keywords: Blue light; Computer vision syndrome; Digital; Digital eye strain; Eye; Eye strain; Vision; Visual fatigue.
Copyright © 2022 American Academy of Ophthalmology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.