What Helps With Computer Vision Syndrome?

Your eyes may be vulnerable due to computer vision syndrome (CVS), an eyestrain condition caused by too much screen time in front of devices such as computers, cell phones, tablets, and e-readers. Study results from a 2020 Vision Council report show you may be vulnerable to this condition with just four hours of screen time each day.

Computer vision syndrome is widespread. Worldwide, around 60 million people experience this condition.

This article will teach you the telltale signs of computer vision syndrome, ways to relieve your eyes, tips for reducing screen time, and more.

Person rubbing eyes under glasses

Dmitry Marchenko / EyeEm / Getty Images

How to Tell If You Have Computer Vision Syndrome

Determining if you have computer vision syndrome (also called digital eyestrain) begins by recognizing the symptoms. Here's what to watch out for:

  • Vision problems such as blurring or double vision (diplopia; seeing two images of a single item at once)
  • Eye issues such as an ache in and around the eyes or a feeling of tired eyes
  • Eye surface problems such as burning, redness, dryness, watering, or a gritty sensation
  • Pain or stiffness in the shoulders, neck, or back, or a headache.
  • Trouble focusing up close
  • Seeing colored halos around things
  • Sensitivity to light

If you notice these symptoms, ask yourself how frequent and intense they are. Having a total of six symptoms may mean you have computer vision syndrome, especially if they are more than simply mild.

Those who suspect they have computer vision syndrome should visit an eye doctor, such as an ophthalmologist, to confirm a diagnosis. Your eye doctor will take a thorough history and perform a comprehensive eye exam to determine if anything else may be contributing to your symptoms.

Part of the exam will involve testing your depth perception and binocular vision (seeing with two eyes together). Your provider will also do a dilated exam, widening your pupils with eye drops to look at the back of the eye, making sure there are no eye disease factors there.

How Long CVS Symptoms Last

While computer vision syndrome symptoms can be uncomfortable, fortunately, the sensation usually subsides once you step away from your screens for a few hours. But if you continue to power through without giving your eyes a break, repeated eyestrain can cause reduced visual acuity even after stepping away from the screen, and this symptom may worsen over time.

Ways to Relieve Computer Vision Syndrome

Making some changes to your environment can help with eyestrain. Here are some steps you can take:

  • Change the lighting in the room to reduce glare: Try drawing the curtains, turning down the brightness on your screen, or putting a filter on the monitor. This will rest your eyes and allow for better focus with less squinting. To see if this may help, try putting your hands above your eyes like the brim of a cap. If this improves your screen vision, then lighting changes are needed.
  • Make sure that the computer screen is not being held too close to your eyes: Screens should be about an arm's length away—or even a little farther—to allow your eyes to focus easily.
  • Position the screen so it's lower than your eyes by about 4 to 8 inches: This lower positioning allows your neck to relax and keeps your eyes from getting as dry since the lids are lower and cover more of your eye's surface.
  • Ergonomics can also help: Adjust your chair height so your feet are flat on the floor and your knees are at a 90-degree angle. Sit back in the chair with the keyboard positioned on a surface that's lower than where your elbows are resting. This will help to improve your posture and relieve strain on your neck, shoulders, and back.
  • Don't stare for too long: Take frequent breaks to give your eyes a rest. If you don't want to get up and move around continuously, consciously blinking periodically or glancing around the room can offer relief.
  • Consider getting eyeglasses or updating your prescription. Eye problems can mean you need corrective lenses or a new vision prescription. Also, poorly fitting glasses can cause them to slide down your nose, reducing the degree of correction. Your eyes will then have to strain to see the screen clearly.

Other measures may be less helpful. While you may have heard about glasses that block out blue light from screens, which has been blamed for digital eye syndrome, there's no scientific evidence that blue light damages the eyes. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, research indicates that blue-light-blocking glasses don't help ease computer vision syndrome, and the academy does not recommend their use.

When CVS Might Be Something Else

If your eyes are bothering you, you may have a condition other than computer vision syndrome. There are many other reasons for your vision to be blurred or for your eyes to burn or look red.

If these symptoms persist, you should promptly visit an eye doctor to determine the actual cause of your symptoms.

How to Reduce Screen Time

For anyone with computer vision syndrome, tamping down on screen time is important. Doing the following may help:

  • Use your computer or smartphone to set screen time limits. Your smartphone will even alert you about your weekly usage.
  • Periodically step away from your device and get up and stretch.
  • Don't eat in front of the screen. Go elsewhere for your meal and snack breaks without a device in tow.
  • Make the bedroom a screen-free zone.


Computer vision syndrome is an all too common fact of modern life associated with the use of devices such as computers, smartphones, tablets, and e-readers. Unfortunately, too much screen time can lead to eye discomfort and even vision problems.

Strategies to alleviate computer vision syndrome include changing the lighting in the room, repositioning your computer, taking frequent breaks, and reducing screen time. See an eye specialist if your problems persist.

7 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. Ranasinghe P, Wathurapatha WS, Perera YS, Lamabadusuriya DA, Kulatunga S, Jayawardana N, Katulanda P. Computer vision syndrome among computer office workers in a developing country: an evaluation of prevalence and risk factors. BMC Res Notes. 2016 Mar 9;9:150. doi: 10.1186/s13104-016-1962-1. PMID: 26956624; PMCID: PMC4784392.

  3. Cedars Sinai. Computer vision syndrome.

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  5. Penn Medicine. Computer vision syndrome.

  6. American Academy of Ophthalmology. Are blue light-blocking glasses worth it?

  7. Scripps. 8 tips to reduce screen time for adults.

By Maxine Lipner
Maxine Lipner is a long-time health and medical writer with over 30 years of experience covering ophthalmology, oncology, and general health and wellness.