What is Computer Vision Syndrome?

CVS is defined as the range of eye problems associated with excessive exposure to LED screens. It is a very similar condition to digital eye strain, with many of the uncomfortable and unpleasant symptoms being universal to both. It is estimated that as much as 90% of regular computer users have experienced at least one of its symptoms.

What causes it?

A standard case of eye strain is caused by staring at an object at a short, fixed distance for a prolonged period of time. When you are scanning information and words on this object, a book for example, your eyes are repeating the same back and forth movement again and again, creating repetitive stress on the eye muscles.

When this stress is combined with the addition of bright glare from the computer screen, Computer Vision Syndrome is regularly the outcome. Sharpness and visual contrast are affected by this artificial light's glare, so your eye muscles must work harder to focus on the text and images that are there.

What is also a major contributing factor to the discomfort of the condition, is the artificial blue light emitted from the devices we use daily. Blue light is known as a HEV light, or high-energy visible light, with short wavelengths of 400-500 nanometers. Any light with wavelengths shorter than this are classified as Ultraviolet Light, and we are all aware of the dangers associated with such wavelengths.

Studies have shown that blue light can be harmful, although it receives far less mainstream attention. There is a strong case for suggestions that it may damage the cells of the retina, leading to conditions such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

In the short term, the high-frequency and short wavelength of blue light enhances the stress and strain on our eyes by inhibiting focus. By exposing ourselves to this blue light each day, we're running the risk of daily discomfort due to the symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome, discussed below.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms vary from person to person depending on their vision strength, age, posture at their desk etc. But what is agreed is that almost 90% of people who work with computers have experienced one of more of the following symptoms. 'Eye Fatigue' is the most common symptom with 65% of the sample sufferers experiencing it on a regular basis:


Symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome

How can I prevent it?

There are a few ways to potentially delay the onset of CVS.

  • Sitting upright, with your monitor set just below eye level, can help by increasing distance from the screen.
  • Use the 20-20-20 rule by looking away from your device every 20 minutes and fixating your gaze on an object 20 feet away, for 20 seconds.
  • Some software applications promise to filter the blue light emitted from your screen. They work by introducing a reddish glow that softens the glare. However, they do, of course, distort the colour on the screen which is not ideal for professionals who depend on accurate colour perception. It is also not seamless to switch from device to device.
  • Blue light blocking glasses, such as Ambr Glasses, filter out over 55% of HEV light emitted by these screens. Different from most, our glasses are engineered to be clear, so as to not affect colour perception. You can also carry your Ambr computer glasses around for times of need, meaning you won't have to worry about CVS symptoms wherever you are, whichever device you're using.

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