June 14, 2024


The Joy of Technology

That Burning Sensation in Your Eyes? It May Be Computer Vision Syndrome


Do just about anything too long and too intensely and you’ll feel the burn. Do it with your eyes while using an electronic screen and that burn will probably develop into what the American Optometric Association calls a “close work-related compound eye problem” — that is, computer vision syndrome (CVS).

“Try reading one page in a book on your lap and then raise that same book up to eye level and read one more page,” says Viola Kanevsky, OD, president of the New York State Optometric Association and an optometrist in private practice in New York City. “You’ll feel your eyes start to burn within a short period. Now, multiply that by eight hours a day while adding in poor hydration, contact lenses, and, possibly, a mask that keeps you from drinking adequate amounts of water and causes you to breathe up into your eyes.”

“That,” she continues, “is CVS.”

Also known as digital eyestrain, some degree of CVS is shared by an estimated three-quarters of all computer and smartphone users who spend four hours or more a day on their devices. With the number of regular internet users set to reach five billion worldwide by midyear, according to DataReportal, and the “typical user” devoting seven hours daily to the habit (per GWI), you’re probably experiencing CVS from your online hours alone. Add in your other electronic screen–based tasks, and CVS is almost unavoidable.


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