According to a recent Nielsen poll, patients are spending more than 13 hours per day on digital devices—and this is having a profound effect on their eyes. Previously, I wrote about the increase in myopia among young patients during the pandemic, as well as the rise in dry eye disease and new treatments. Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) is another issue to be on the lookout for in your patients.
CVS is a term that applies to the asthenopia related to using digital devices or computers. It encompasses many potential components ranging from dry eyes or meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) to high energy visible light absorption (HEVL), also referred to as violet light exposure. But likely the most important component of CVS is eye misalignment leading to a condition known as trigeminal dysphoria. Let’s examine this significant issue due to the increased use of digital devices in the COVID era.
Light damage and eye misalignment disrupt sleep and increase migraines
Studies have shown that high energy or violet visible light (HVEL) can damage primate eyes. There are no studies that confirm the development of macular degeneration secondary to HVEL because the length of study duration would not be feasible. There are, however, studies to confirm that HVEL in the evenings can trick the brain into thinking it is morning and affect the circadian rhythms. Patients with disrupted sleep patterns can experience more eye strain issues and headaches.
There has been a significant increase in the incidence of migraines during COVID-19 and it’s likely due to eye misalignment, such as trigeminal dysphoria, exacerbated by computer use.
Some common symptoms of CVS include dry eyes, sore eyes, blurred vision, dizziness, neck and shoulder stiffness and headaches or migraines. There has been a significant increase in the incidence of migraines during COVID and it’s likely due to trigeminal dysphoria. Patients with exophoria, convergence insufficiency or other types of eye misalignment experience migraines.
Patients with chronic headache share a common trait: the misalignment in the synchronization of peripheral and central visual during pursuits and saccades. Measurement of these phorias with prismatic correction can often alleviate the symptoms and decrease or even eliminate headaches. Newer technology known as Neurolens, which utilizes contoured prism, can dramatically help these patients, including those who suffer from refractory migraines.
Videos can educate patients on eye exercises and computer lenses
Rendia’s video library offers numerous videos, clips, and images to educate patients on this condition. For example, the video showcased below, effectively defines computer vision syndrome and describes common symptoms such as headaches, neck and back pain, blurred, dry eyes, and blurred vision.
These videos can help educate patients on exercises to alleviate eye strain as well as computer glasses and other treatments that can address CVS.
Once they understand what CVS is, you can share Healthy Daily Habits for Computer Users to give them simple exercises to alleviate eye tension. You can use this video as a jumping-off point to discuss customized computer glasses to enhance vision and reduce glare: Computer Lens Overview.
Ultimately, an eye doctor needs to measure phorias or eye misalignment to identify trigeminal dysphoria either manually or via the Neurolens diagnostic technology. Once identified, patients’ vision can be corrected with contoured prism lenses such as Neurolens or vision therapy. CVS symptoms may be reduced with violet light blocking lenses or protective screen covers such as EyeSafe, nutritional supplements such as BlueRex, and ergonomic adjustments.
Using visuals helps patients understand the reasons for prescribed treatments more effectively than verbal communication alone. Download “The Impact of Narrated Animations” to understand the value of effective patient education for issues such as CVS, and how it impacts your referral and quality ratings.