Computer Vision Syndrome

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What Does Computer Vision Syndrome Mean?

Computer vision syndrome (CVS) is a set of vision-related issues that can be caused by continuous computer usage. This is usually a temporary disorder caused by constant staring at a computer monitor for uninterrupted, protracted time periods.


Many computer users experience vision issues and discomfort in their eyes when viewing a computer monitor for long periods. The degree of discomfort usually depends on the visual ability and seems to rise with the level of computer usage.

Typical symptoms associated with CVS are headaches, eyestrain, dry or red eyes, blurred vision, dizziness, shoulder and neck pain, etc.

Computer vision syndrome is also known as terminal illness.

Techopedia Explains Computer Vision Syndrome

According to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, CVS can affect around 90% of computer users who spend three hours or more per day in front of a computer screen.

Most of the visual disorder symptoms are just temporary and can diminish after ending the computer usage. Still, many people may suffer from extended reduced visual capabilities, including blurred distant vision, despite ending work at a computer.

The reasons behind these symptoms can be attributed to the following:

  • Poor lighting
  • Over-brightness of the computer monitor
  • Inappropriate viewing distances
  • Wrong seating position
  • Uncorrected vision issues
  • A mixture of the above factors

The following are some precautions that can be taken to minimize the effects of CVS:

  • Keep blinking the eyes. It helps to wash the eyes with natural therapeutic tears.
  • Every 20 minutes, try to spend 20 seconds staring at something that is at least 20 feet away.
  • Keep the bright lighting overhead as low as possible. Make use of blinds and use an anti-glare screen protector. Place the computer monitor in such a way that the reflections from overhead lights or windows are at a minimum.
  • Keep the computer monitor at least 20 inches away from the eyes. Adjust the brightness and contrast to suit the eyes.
  • Adjust the computer monitor slightly downward.
  • Wear computer specs made especially to address these issues.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.