Protect Your Eyes From Computer Vision Syndrome

Written by GHBY Team on Thu, 31 August 2023 — Fact checked by Dr Bright Owusu Prempeh

Key Highlights

  • CVS is a group of eye and vision-related problems that are caused due to the prolonged usage of computers, tablets, e-readers, and cell phones.
  • 70% of adults report that their children have a screen exposure time of at least 2 hours.  
  • Simultaneous use of 2 or more devices increased the risk of CVS.  
  • Not blinking enough (18-22 times per minute) can cause symptoms of CVS.
  • Even minor vision problems can contribute to CVS. 

In the modern era, our lives are inseparable from screens. From work tasks and online communication to entertainment and information consumption, digital devices have become an integral part of our daily routine. While these technological marvels have undoubtedly enhanced our productivity and connectivity, they also come with an unintended consequence – the dreaded Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS).

Characterized by a range of discomforting symptoms, CVS is a collective term for the eye-related issues that arise from prolonged exposure to digital screens. In this blog, we will take a deep dive into the world of CVS, understand its causes, symptoms, and most importantly, learn effective strategies to protect our eyes and maintain their well-being in the face of constant digital engagement.

What is Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS)?

What is Computer Vision Syndrome

  • The American Optometric Association (AOA) defines CVS as a group of eye and vision-related problems that are caused due to the prolonged usage of computers, tablets, e-readers, and cell phones.
  • This increases eye strain on the user and may also lead to vision problems.
  • CVS is also associated with the inclusion of ocular, visual, and musculoskeletal symptoms due to the extended use of computers or digital devices.

The burden of CVS

The booming digital industry has a firm grip on everyone ranging from toddlers to the elderly. The number of digital users has been rising over the last two decades. However, after the covid-19 pandemic, there was rapid growth in digitalization.

With most adults working from their homes and students attending classes online, screens became mandatory portals to the outside world. Other than work and schooling, The growing stigma around covid-19 had most people glued to their screens for news and the latest updates.

Since the outdoors was prohibited, most users took to digital entertainment increasing the burden of eye and vision-related problems due to CVS.

Prevalence of CVS

Here’s how CVS is affecting people around the world.

  • 80% of adults use digital devices for at least 2 hours daily and more.
  • Around 80% of adults use digital devices just before sleeping.
  • 70% of adults report that their children have a screen exposure time of at least 2 hours.
  • 65% of adults use at least 2 devices simultaneously.
  • Simultaneous use of 2 or more devices increased the risk of CVS.
  • At least 60-65 % of Americans reported symptoms of CVS.
  • Studies show that the prevalence of CVS in contact lens users was 65 % in contrast to 50 % in non-contact lens users.
  • CVS was reported to be 54.6 % of call center operators in Brazil.
  • Another study reported that the symptoms increased significantly with more than 4 hours of computer usage.

Symptoms of CVS

The most common symptoms associated with CVS or digital eyestrain are:

  • Frequent blurred vision.
  • Increased eyestrain.
  • Dry eyes.
  • Headaches.
  • Neck and shoulder pain.

The reason behind experiencing these symptoms may be due to:

  • A poor light setting.
  • Constant glare on a digital screen.
  • Poor seating posture.
  • Improper screen viewing distance.
  • Undetected vision problems.
  • A combination of the above factors.

Causes of CVS

The following factors are the reason one may develop CVS.

1. Constant refocusing

The pixels on the screen can be hard to look at. Constantly focusing and refocusing on your screen can increase eye strain leading to CVS.

2. Screen contrast levels

The low contrast level between the text and its background can make your eyes work harder. This can often lead to eye pain due to increased eye strain.

3. Inadequate blinking

Blinking lubricates the eyes. While looking at screens, people blink less or blink incompletely. Not blinking enough (18-22 times per minute) can cause dry eyes which is a major symptom of CVS.

How Can CVS be Diagnosed?

How Can CVS be Diagnosed

Computer Vision Syndrome can be diagnosed with the help of eye care specialists. These experts conduct a thorough eye examination along with questioning before concluding.

The questionnaire may include questions regarding the following:

  • The types of symptoms.
  • The frequency of their occurrence.
  • The severity of symptoms.

The more information a patient provides, the simpler it’ll be for the eye care professional to make a diagnosis.

The patient must inform their healthcare provider about the following:

  • The amount of time they spend on digital devices.
  • Details regarding the work environment and posture.
  • A brief history of medical conditions if any.
  • Regular medications if any.
  • Family history of any eye or vision problems.
  • If your provider determines you have computer vision syndrome, they’ll talk to you about treatment.

Treatment and management of CVS

Treatment and management of CVS

The treatment of Computer vision syndrome includes:

  • Managing dry eye.
  • Vision correction.
  • Changing your routine.
  • Adjusting your environment.

1. Tips to manage dry eyes

Using digital devices for a prolonged time can lead to dry eyes. The treatment for this problem includes lubrication.

  • Doctors usually recommend artificial tears to moisturize dry eyes. These are often available as over-the-counter eye drops.
  • Make a conscious effort to blink more often while working with digital screens. This can help generate natural tears and prevent dry eyes.

2. Working on vision correction

Refractive errors might often go unnoticed. Even minor vision problems can contribute to CVS. Wearing the recommended glasses or contact lenses helps with clearer vision. Computer glasses can help correct your vision and shield you from bright light. This can help when viewing computer screens or television.

3. Fixing your environment

Here are some general tips to fix your work environment:

  • Reduce your screen time: Try to use digital devices for less than 5 hours per day.
  • 20-20-20: Try to take a 15-minute break every two hours. During that break, avoid viewing any screens. Avoid close-up vision and rest your eyes with the 20-20-20 method. Every 20 minutes, look at something at least 20 feet away for about 20 seconds.
  • Get a comfortable office chair: Try to work at an ergonomic workstation. This prevents eye strain and body pain.
  • Limit reflections and glare: Bright natural light from windows or bright white light from tube lights can reflect on your computer screen and cause eye strain. Lower your blinds if there’s bright sunlight coming in. Use dim bulbs or lamps near your work area to avoid bright lights.
  • Adjust screen brightness and contrast: Match the brightness of your screen to the brightness of the room you are in. Avoid high brightness while being seated in a dark room. A screen contrast of up to 70% should feel comfortable to your eyes. Use features like the night shield to protect your eyes.
  • Make text bigger: Reading with tiny fonts can be painful to the eyes. Use the zoom-in filter to read small fonts. You can adjust the font size to make it more visible. Prefer reading dark text on a light background as it is comforting to the eyes and reduces eye strain.

How to prevent CVS

It is possible to prevent CVS. Take these below steps to keep CVS at bay.

1. Take regular eye exams

If you feel an eye strain at work or home, make sure you get an early eye examination. Don't take a vision problem to work.

2. Wear computer glasses

Glasses that enable eye comfort while working are available in the market. Using these might be protective for your eyes.

3. Minimize screen glare

Blue light from LED and fluorescent lighting can be harmful to your eyes. Minimize glare on the computer screen by using a glare reduction filter, repositioning the screen, or using blinds.

4. Adjust the work area

Make sure your computer screen is 16 to 30 inches away. The top of the screen should be slightly below horizontal eye level.

5. Take a break

Take adequate breaks from looking at the screen. Look afar or away from the screen once in a while to prevent the build-up of eye strain.


Computer eye syndrome is growing due to our technological advances and our changing lifestyle. No matter how far technology goes, we remain human. We need to care for our eyes and prevent such ailments.

This is possible by reducing screen time, setting up an ergonomic workspace, and adjusting your environment as much as you can. Prevention always wins over cure.

However, if you are undergoing severe eye strain or see symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome, consult your healthcare provider for treatment and a better understanding of how to manage CVS. Take care.

Remember, our eyes are our most valuable windows to the world, and nurturing their well-being allows us to continue enjoying the digital realm while keeping discomfort and strain at bay. So, let’s embark on this journey together, cultivating habits that prioritize our eye health and empower us to thrive in our increasingly screen-centric lives.

Frequently Asked Questions

Computer Vision Syndrome, also known as Digital Eye Strain, refers to a range of eye discomfort and strain caused by prolonged screen use. 

Symptoms include eye strain, dryness, blurred vision, headaches, neck and shoulder pain, all stemming from extended digital device usage. 

Follow the 20-20-20 rule, adjust screen setup for proper ergonomics, use blue light filters, take regular breaks, and maintain a balanced diet. 

Yes, blue light filters can reduce the amount of harmful blue light emitted by screens, aiding in reducing eye strain and potential sleep disruptions.

Prolonged exposure to digital screens without proper precautions could potentially lead to more severe eye issues, making preventive measures crucial. 



GHBY Team comprises content writers and content editors who specialise in health and lifestyle writing. Always on the lookout for new trends in the health and lifestyle space, Team GHBY follows an audience-first approach. This ensures they bring the latest in the health space to your fingertips, so you can stay ahead in your wellness game. 

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  1. Loh K, Redd S. Understanding and preventing computer vision syndrome. Malays Fam Physician. 2008 Dec 31;3(3):128-30. PMID: 25606136; PMCID: PMC4170366.
  2. Computer Vision Syndrome (Digital Eye Strain)  

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Aug, 31 2023

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Fact checked By

Dr Bright Owusu Prempeh