The Startling Truth About Computer

Isn’t it odd to be talking about computer eye strain? It almost feels like contriving something about the digital phenomenon that is transforming all our lives. 15 years ago most people could not even turn on a computer. Today it would be difficult (probably impossible) for me to think of 5 people that are not using any digital device at all. And it has all happened in less than two decades.

However, computer eye strain is not imaginary or contrived. It is the physical effect of living in Digitalia (my coinage for the digital universe we now inhabit). CVS (Computer Vision Syndrome) is the medically recognized eye malady for computer eye strain. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health defines it as “eye strain associated with prolonged computer use.”

The startling truth is that up to 93% of all computer users will experience CVS according to American Optometric Association (AOA) estimates. Nearly everyone that uses a computer for as little as 2 hours a day will notice some of these symptoms sooner or later. So we are talking about almost every man, woman, and child in the country. The journal Computers in Human Behavior recently published a paper titled “Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS): a widely spreading but largely unknown epidemic among professional and ordinary computer users”.

So the phenomenon is just beginning to percolate to our consciousness but will part of our lives into the future. Just as print brought about the requirement for and invention of spectacles so will the mighty pixel bring about its own range of remedies and solutions.

A survey of optometrists by the AOA indicated that 10 million primary eye care examinations are provided annually in this country primarily because of visual problems with computer screens at an approximate cost of two billion dollars. And this survey was before the advent of other digital devices like cell phones, PDAs, netbooks, Kindles, etc! CVS is 4 times more likely to require a medical consult that any of the repetitive strain injuries like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, de Quervain’s disease, and trigger finger among others.

So computer eye strain is very widespread and is here to stay. The good news is that CVS is easily remedied. I have written a number of articles here on Ezine about methods to reduce or prevent CVS and there is other information available in what I expect will be a growing field of information and disinformation into the future.