We hear this a lot at our office, so Dr. Z explained why this has become more common:
One of the most common vision complaints that I get every day has to do with headaches, eyestrain and blurry near vision. This is a very common and expected result of aging that has to do with an eye condition called presbyopia. This affects every person over the age of 40 as the internal anatomy of the eye changes and loses the flexibility to adjust to different viewing distances.
It is becoming much more common, however, to see similar complaints in younger people who spend a significant amount of time each day focused on near objects such as a computer or smartphone. The delicate muscles inside the eyes are put under increasingly greater demand as an object gets closer to them. When your eyes are viewing a distant object beyond about 20 feet, they are not put under any strain, and they are completely relaxed. As an object is brought in closer, the eyes have to adjust focus and strain harder to keep that object in clear focus. The longer the gaze is held at these close distances the more likely it is for the eyes to become fatigued and tired, and they can actually start to “lock up” at a certain gaze distance. I relate it to patients by saying that if you hold a weight over your head for an hour, your arms will become tired and fatigued. Your eyes will get tired in the same way with an extended amount of time spent looking at near objects such as the computer.
In today’s digital world, this has become very common in people of all ages especially people in their 20’s and 30’s who not only spend a large amount of time at a computer during working hours, but are then also spending a large amount of time on smart phones and tablets for the rest of the day.
A very predictable set of symptoms develops in people who are experiencing this condition, and it has become known as Computer Vision Syndrome. Even though someone may not feel that their overall vision is poor, some of the most common symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome are:
As a real life wearer of prescription computer lenses, Dr. Rhodes said, “I’m one of the lucky ones that does not have a prescription for far or near, so all my glasses have usually been for fashion only. However, in the last year, I found my eyes were straining while I was working on the computer. I’m not yet 40, so like many people, I thought, ‘What the heck?! This shouldn’t be happening to me yet.’ I denied it at first, but I gave in because I knew I was experiencing computer vision syndrome. I thought it was simply lack of sleep or stress, but now when I use the glasses at my computer, I don’t experience any of the symptoms I used to… my eyes are more relaxed and focused. I’m a big believer in computer lenses because they totally did the trick for me!”
If you are experiencing these symptoms, and you spend a significant amount each day on the computer, you may experiencing Computer Vision Syndrome. In order to alleviate these symptoms, specific tests need to be performed during an eye exam to assess the efficiency of your eyes during near tasks. If during the exam your eyes are showing signs of stress on the visual system, specific glasses or contact lenses may be suggested to alleviate these symptoms. It is important to realize that these glasses may not be specifically to make you see better, but instead they are intended to make your eyes work more efficiently while relieving overall stress on the visual system.
In most cases there is no way to just stop looking a computer or smartphone all day, so in order to make your eyes much more comfortable, let us help! If you are experiencing these symptoms please schedule an eye exam so we can determine if you may struggling with this very common condition.