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COMPUTER VISION SYNDROME: Causes and Complications

Computer Vision Syndrome (or Computer Induced Eye Strain) is an […]

By Published On: 17 August 20122.9 min read

Computer Vision Syndrome (or Computer Induced Eye Strain) is an eye condition that commonly occurs in people who use the computer for prolonged periods of time. It is often characterized by dryness, redness, burning or stinging feeling in the eyes coupled with photophobia. While computer vision syndrome may not be a serious condition, it is best that you know about its causes and the complications that may result from it so you know what to avoid and watch out for. Read on to learn more.


Your computer vision syndrome may be due to any of the following causes and risk factors:

•    Uncorrected refractive errors can cause asthenopia, headaches, blurred vision and eye strain that may be symptoms of this syndrome. Although you can wear eye glasses to correct these errors, your symptoms may still appear if you overextend your neck to look at your materials or your keyboard when using the computer.

•    Large angle of gaze or the angle with which you look at your computer monitor. Ideally, the top of your monitor should be lower than your eyebrows.

•    Medical conditions that result to lid retraction or widen your interpalpebral fissures like thyroid diseases. These conditions increase your tear evaporation and cause computer vision syndrome.

•    Low humidity in the work area

•    Studies show that females are more prone to have reduction in their tear film’s aqueous layer as they age. Men less so.  This is thought to be a hormonal difference.

•    Insufficient or excessive illumination and light sensitivity. These can include the use of high wattage or flickering lights in your work area. You may also experience some discomfort due to glare coming from large glass windows or overhead light sources that are near your workstation.

•    Diminished blinking. People normally blink 18 times per minute. However, when you use the computer, you tend to blink only four times per minute. This may be because you exert more effort to look at your computer monitor attentively. Apart from resulting in computer vision syndrome, this can also worsen your meibomian gland dysfunction – the leading cause of dry eyes.

•    Dry eye condition.

Conditions with Similar Symptoms

Since computer vision syndrome is a very common condition, it is not surprising that its symptoms are often confused with those of other medical conditions. And since this condition is not usually serious, people tend to disregard the signs that come with it. There is no harm in doing that if you are really just suffering from this condition. However, if your symptoms bother you and they affect your functionality, you may want to have your eyes checked. After all, the signs you are seeing may be indicative of any of the following conditions:

•    Allergic conjunctivitis
•    Lagophthalmos
•    Refractive errors
•    Blepharitis
•    Dry eye syndrome
•    Presbyopia,


You have to watch out for the following things which may be possible complications of your computer vision syndrome:

•    Keratitis
•    Superficial punctate keratitis
•    Optical decentration in the eye glasses. This can be detected by the examination of your pupillary distance. Monocular measurements of this distance may be needed and these will be compared with the distance found in the prescribed eye glasses. You may need to inform your optometrist beforehand about your dominant eye.
•    Bifocal height malpositioning in your eye glasses, especially the progressive bifocal type.

Computer Vision Syndrome is rarely simple. At The Eye Practice being in the Sydney CBD we constantly are solving these type of eye strain issues for our patients.  call us now on (02) 92901 899 or BOOK an APPOINTMENT ONLINE.


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