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Decoding Computer Vision Syndrome: Know Its Symptoms & Treatment

By Dr. Nikita Toshi +2 more

Computer vision syndrome (CVS) or digital eye strain is a group of vision problems that develop due to the continuous use of digital appliances like computers, phones, tablets, e-readers and laptops. Most of us are glued to our computer or phone screens throughout the day. The problems increase for those who already suffer from vision problems, wear spectacles or lenses and those who are older. Due to the increased usage of phone and tablets by kids, even they are developing computer vision syndrome.

Computer Vision Syndrome

Why Does Computer Vision Syndrome Happen?

CVS happens because of the repetitive motion of the eyes over a period of time. The longer one continues the habit of extensive screen time, the problem gets worse. The eyes have to repeatedly adjust their focus as they continue reading over the computer screens. If you need to look at the paper then they have to again readjust their muscles to deal with changing images. With screen time, the problem increases as the eyes have to deal with glare, flickering and contrast on the screen. For those above 40 years of age, due to degeneration of the optic muscles, CVS becomes a real threat.

Resting the eyes for 15 minutes after two hours of continuous computer use is the best. if not possible 20-20-20 rule ie for every 20 minutes of computer viewing, look into the distance of atleast 20 ft away for 20 seconds to allow the eyes a chance to refocus. Frequent blinking to minimize the chances of developing dry eye when using a computer, try to blink frequently.

Dr. M.G. Kartheeka, MBBS, MD


Some symptoms of CVS are:

  • Blurred vision
  • Dry eyes
  • Double vision
  • Redness
  • Headaches
  • Irritation in the eyes
  • Pain in neck and shoulders

Ignoring the symptoms will increase the problem, so if you have any of these issues consult your doctor.

Most symptoms associated with CVS are temporary, and they go away a few hours after you stop using the digital screen. If problems leading to consistent eye strain are not resolved, repeated experience of these issues can lead to reduced visual acuity after stopping work on the screen, and this may get worse.

Dr. Ashish Bajaj – M.B.B.S, M.D.


The severity of the symptoms that the patient experiences will depend on his visual ability, how much screen time they do if they have prior vision problems and their age. Many people experience a regression in the symptoms when they reduce their screen time or begin resting their eyes regularly. Doing certain things right helps to alleviate the problem.

Tips to Prevent Computer Vision Syndrome

  • Eye Care

Many people benefit from using eyeglasses or contact lenses specially prescribed for computer-related work. Those whose vision doesn’t improve with these may need vision therapy. The eye exercises help to improve the user’s experience of a computer. One is the 20-20-20 rule. In this after every twenty minutes, the person should look away at an object twenty feet away for twenty seconds.

  • Positioning the Computer

Keep the screen 15-20 degrees lower than eye level and roughly about 28 inches away from the face. Keep the reference materials, if any, at screen level.

  • Lighting

To avoid glare from the screen, adjust the position of the screen. Avoid keeping the screen against a window or a light source. Use an anti-glare screen if possible. Ensure that there is no overhead lighting above the screen. Change the factory settings of your screen to suit your needs. Adjust screen brightness, contrast and font size.

  • Blinking

To avoid dry eyes, remember to blink frequently as it keeps the eye surface moist.

  • Eye Exam

Getting a regular eye examination helps to recognize symptoms of CVS.   Also, get a regular eye exam for the kids.

Also Read: What is Marfan Syndrome: An Insight into Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

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