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Computer Vision Syndrome: Fact or Fiction?
Date:3/3/2011

ay terminal are subject to visual symptoms characteristic of CVS.

In contrast, the American Academy of Ophthalmology (which represents medical doctors specialized in vision care) views CVS as a reversible short-term condition that dissipates when users take breaks away from their computer screens.

Duffner concurs.

"It's really just symptomatic at the time that you are there at your computer," he said. "There's no data to show that there is any permanent damage to the surface of the eye or any pathology of the eye that accompanies working at the computer."

Duffner and Schwab said that when far-sighted individuals struggle to focus up close the result may be normal eye strain. The progressive loss of the ability to easily shift between distance and near vision, which starts at about age 40, may also add to eye strain.

Both doctors pass on the need for specialized lenses designed for computer use. Instead, they recommend having the proper standard corrective glasses or contacts.

"The computer doesn't actually cause any actual physical damage to the eye," said Duffner. "Despite the rumors, this doesn't happen. There's no radiation output, for example."

Schwab adds that the symptoms are not caused by the machine or even the act of performing close-up work per se.

"Because the imagery on a computer or any hand-held digital device is so alluring, it's pretty well accepted that we tend to stare and not blink as much," Schwab explained. "Then what happens is you get dry spots, which expose the skin surface of the eye, and that tends to cause irritation, a gritty sensation. And that is the source of many of the dry eye complaints associated with computer vision problems."

Duffner's advice to patients who complain of dry eye is: 'Think, Blink."

"Basically, I tell my patients with computer issues the same thing I've been telling proofreaders to do for years," said Duffner. "Which is to periodically get up from thei
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