Good eyesight does not equal good vision.

Many people experience hidden vision disorders beyond 20/20 acuity. These vision disorders often go undetected and get in the way of daily life for both children and adults.

The amount of time we spend on computer screens and doing near vision work has increased exponentially in recent years. And we all owe it to ourselves to understand how to best support the ever increasing demands on our vision. This stress causes many symptoms that are maladaptive such as eyestrain, headaches, fatigue, blurred vision, and decreased comprehension. A comprehensive functional evaluation gives the best understanding of how our vision is being affected by the daily burden on our vision systems. Often an Rx for stress relieving lenses is prescribed to help alleviate these symptoms. Patients also benefit by learning ways to support proper visual habits including aids to help visual comfort while working.

Functional Vision involves 4 visual skills necessary for learning. 

They are Tracking, Focusing, Eye Teaming, and Visual Processing.


TRACKING

When our eyes don’t focus well, it is hard to switch from near to far objects and keep both clear, such as when copying from the board. Our eyes fatigue easily because our focusing system struggles to keep things clear.

FOCUSING

When our eyes don’t focus well, it is hard to switch from near to far objects and keep both clear, such as when copying from the board. Our eyes fatigue easily because our focusing system struggles to keep things clear. This skill is the ability to move or shift your clear focus between objects at different distances.

EYE TEAMING

This refers to the ability to align and focus both eyes on the same point in 3-D space. Good eye teaming allows them to work together in unison, in a well-coordinated and precise way. This is important for comfortable, single vision, and it critical to developing good depth perception.

VISUAL PROCESSING SKILLS

Visual information processing skills take the visual input from eyes, relate it to past experiences and the other senses, make sense out of it, and plan for action. These skills include form recognition, size and shape constancy, laterality and directionality, visual manipulation, and visualization.

Did You Know?

Vision is our dominant sense, so it’s no wonder that over 80% of classroom learning comes through visual pathways.

25% of ALL children have a vision problem significant enough to affect their performance in school

School vision screenings, such as a Snellen eyechart, detect only 20-30% of vision problems in schools

The majority of the vision problems that interfere with reading and learning are very treatable.

Can Vision Therapy Help?

In a nutshell, vision therapy teaches your eyes and brain to be better teammates.

WHAT IS CVS?

Also known as Digital Eye Strain, Computer Vision Syndrome refers to a group of vision and eye-related problems resulting from the extended use of computers and other electronic screen devices. Typically, eye discomfort and vision problems are experienced when viewing digital screens for long periods, with discomfort levels appearing to increase in proportion to the amount of time spent using a digital screen.


WHAT CAUSES CVS?

Symptoms associated with CVS may be caused by:

Poor lighting

Improper viewing distances

Digital screen glare

Poor seating posture

Uncorrected vision problems (i.e. prescriptions)

A combination of these factors

AGING

Computer work gets harder as you age and the natural lenses in your eyes become less flexible. Somewhere around age 40, your ability to focus on near and far objects will start to go away. This condition is called presbyopia.

INFREQUENT BLINKING

We also blink far less frequently when using a computer, which causes the eyes to dry out and blur your vision periodically while working. This can lead to symptoms of burning, redness, and further blurring of vision.

YOUR PRESCRIPTION

Even those already wearing eyeglasses or contacts may still find themselves experiencing discomfort because their prescriptions are not specifically designed for computer or device use. Those at greatest risk of developing Computer Vision Syndrome are those who spend at least two continuous hours at a computer or viewing a digital screen device daily.

What ARE symptoms OF CVS?

Eyestrain

Headaches

Blurred vision

Dry eyes

Neck and shoulder pain


Viewing computers or digital screens pushes the eyes to work harder, leading to high visual demands. This is because letters on screens are not as sharply or precisely defined as those on printed pages, reducing the contrast between them and the background. Not to mention screens usually require different viewing angles and distances and have reflections or glare that make viewing troublesome. Combined with characteristics unique to computer and device use, this results into many individuals being susceptible to developing vision-related symptoms.

How is CVS diagnosed?

Diagnosis of CVS involves a comprehensive dilated eye exam. Tests, with particular focus on the visual requirements of computer and screen device use, may include:

  • Visual Acuity Measurements – For assessing the current condition of an individual’s vision.
  • Refraction – For identifying the appropriate lens power necessary to compensate for refractive errors present.
  • Binocular Vision Workup – Checking how the eyes focus, work and move together


Tests results, alongside an evaluation of a patient’s medical history to determine if symptoms being experienced may be related to environmental factors, other health issues or medications being taken, will help your eye doctor determine if you have CVS. In general, however, the condition can be expected when the visual demands of computer or screen device use exceed the visual abilities an individual must comfortably address them.

GENERAL RECOMMENDATIONS FOR COMPUTER VISION SYNDROME


Computer Vision Syndrome can be treated, with treatment varying with the severity of the condition being experienced. For best results, treatment requires the combination of regular eye care and changing how you view computer and device screens.


Task Specific Glasses

If you are already wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses, you may be provided by your eye doctor with a new prescription specifically designed for screen use. This is because your general-use pair may not be providing you with the required help to boost your visual abilities and offset the demands of computer or device use.

Vision Therapy

Issues related to eye coordination or eye focusing can’t be sufficiently corrected by eyeglasses or contact lenses, prompting the need for vision therapy. Also known as visual training, vision therapy is a structured program involving visual activities designed to improve visual abilities, training the eyes to work more effectively with the brain. It may include a combination of office-based sessions and home training procedures.

The 20-20-20 Rule

Take a 20-second break every 20 minutes and look at something 20 feet away. Looking far away is recommended because it relaxes muscles inside the eye responsible for focusing, reducing overall fatigue for the eye. If you are unable to take breaks every 20 minutes, you can practice frequent blinking instead. It won’t have the same effect as the 20-20-20 rule but it will keep the front of your eyes lubricated, helping you ease discomfort and keeping dry eye at bay.

Ergonomics

A great deal of preventing CVS involves visual display terminals (i.e. screens) and how they are used, including monitor location, lighting conditions and seating position.

  • Have computer screens sitting about four inches below the eye level, as measured from the screen’s center and 20 to 28 inches from the eyes.
  • Have reference material located below the monitor but above the keyboard or use a document holder beside the monitor to keep you from moving your head when going from document to screen and back.
  • Have computer screens positioned to avoid glare from overhead lighting or windows.
  • Have display settings set to reduce eye strain and fatigue, such as adjusting screen brightness to have it approximately the same as your surrounding area and adjusting text contrast and size for comfort. Typically, black texts on white backgrounds are best, but high-contrast, dark-on-light combinations also work well.
  • Have comfortably padded chairs that conform to your body at heights where your feet are resting flat on the floor.

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B-Town Eyecare

19987 1st Ave S, Ste 105

Normandy Park, WA 98148

Phone: 206.242.8545

Fax: 206.244.2020

[email protected]

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