What is computer vision syndrome?

Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) is an environmental condition caused by extensive computer use; in that the eyes blink less when looking at the screen there can be lasting irritation caused by long periods of computer and monitor use.

As many as 70 -75% of computer users may suffer from CVS but most of these people are unaware that a large part of their discomfort can be fixed.  Symptoms include:

  • Blurred or double vision
  • Burning or watering eyes
  • Headaches

During your eye examination, your optometrist checks

  • Your ability to focus your eyes on close work
  • Check the external surface of the eye for tear layer abnormalities
  • Check the health of internal structures of the eye
  • Inquire about medications that you are taking
  • Discuss the details about your computer workstation set-up

Treatment for CVS can include specialized eyewear such as a business lens or an office lens, changes in contact lenses or solution and adjusting posture to the computer and lighting situations.

Computer users should take regular breaks from viewing the computer screen.  For each hour of computer work, take a 5-10 minute break.  Look back and forth from distance to near to alleviate some of the eyestrain from too much close work.  The ideal distance from your eyes to the screen is about 50-60cm.  You should position yourself so that the computer screen is about 20 degrees below eye level.  Periodically adjust the brightness of the screen and contrast.  This helps with focus for the eyes.  Also adjusting the computer screen to limit glare and reflection will help with keeping the eyes comfortable.  Most of the time lights or windows behind the computer user will cause these issues.


Dr. Patricia Fink


Millcroft Shopping Centre
2080 Appleby Line, Unit E6
Burlington, Ontario, L7L6M6
Tel: (905) 319-1066