The American Optometric Association defines computer vision syndrome as “the complex of eye and vision problems related to near work which are experienced during or related to computer use.”
The first step is identifying someone as having CVS. Many people, however, don’t relate these symptoms to computer vision syndrome. While any symptoms listed (to the right) can be associated with CVS, a combination of one or more of these symptoms should necessitate further investigation. There is a list of questions on the back of this brochure that we would like you to review to see if you have symptoms related to CVS. We will be using the answers to many of these questions to help define what the root of the problem is.
Typically, four factors contribute to the development of CVS:
Working at a computer requires a specific posture with specific positioning of the head, eyes, and hands. We know that carpal tunnel syndrome also has reached epidemic proportions for many of the same reasons. Proper positioning is crucial in the treatment of CVS which include monitor distance, monitor height, head position, desk viewing distances, general and task lighting, windows, glare and maybe more. In most situations, CVS is due to a near point problem. We typically read things about 16 inches away however, most computer stations have visual tasks located at multiple distances. Our computer is at one distance and direction while our reading material is typically at a different location and direction. What results is movement back and forth between multiple distances but also into different visual positions. Did you also know that the pixels on a computer screen are slightly more concentrated in the center of the screen than in the periphery? All of this causes varying stresses on our visual system, especially when it occurs all day, every day.
We need to test how you use your eyes together, your ability to focus or accommodate, as well as their range of accommodation. We will also test your computer prescription in front of a computer to check how you do in a real life situation. All of these factors become important when trying to decide whether to use bifocals, progressive lenses, or some other form of reading prescription.
Many times, dry eye and other types of ocular surface disorders can also cause a problem. We know that when we read or perform some near task for a prolonged period of time, our blink rate decreases. The result is increased dryness and an unstable front tear surface. Many times, we need to counsel you regarding the ergonomics of your workplace, in addition to giving you task specific glasses. We also tell you to blink more often and take a visual break. You need to look up and away from the computer screen every few minutes to prevent eyestrain caused from accommodative spasm. The blinking helps to spread the tear film and prevent the eyes from drying out.
1. Do you wear glasses while working at the computer? Y | N
2. If yes, what type? (Please circle one)
Single Vision | Bifocal | Progressive | OTC Reading Glasses
3. Do you wear contacts while working at the computer? Y | N
4. Do you have any of these symptoms during or after VDT work? (Circle all that apply)
5. Number of hours per day of computer use _____
6. How often do you take vision breaks? (Circle one)
Intermittent: Periods of < 1 Hour
Intermittent: Periods of > 1 Hour
Constant: Informal Breaks, as Required
Constant: Regular Breaks
Constant: No Breaks, other than Meals
7. Viewing distance from your eye to the computer screen: ______ inches
8. Is the monitor supported on a stand, desk or CPU? Y | N
9. Can the monitor be tilted? Y | N
10. Can you adjust the monitor height? Y | N
11. Top of computer screen (above, equal to, or below) eye level?
12. Viewing distance from your eye to keyboard: ______ inches
13. Viewing distance from your eye to hard copy material: ______ inches
14. What type of lighting is present overhead? (Circle one)
Fluorescent | Incandescent | LED