If you optimize your work environment for comfort and still have problems, the solution may be another pair of glasses, the association says. Normally, I’d be skeptical of a trade association suggesting that I buy more of their wares. But studies have found that a majority of people who work on computers or hand-held devices experience some vision problems, the association said.

With 31 percent of those over 18 saying that, on average, they now spend at least five hours a day on a computer, tablet or smartphone, it appears that these symptoms will only become more common.
Many of those people need special-purpose glasses with lenses adjusted to bring the computer screen sharply into focus. The problem with computer work is twofold, said Gary Heiting, an optometrist and associate editor of AllAboutVision.com, a consumer information site.

“During computer use,” Dr. Heiting said, “our eyes not only have to stay focused but also have to stay properly converged for long periods of time,” referring to the ability to move both eyes inward. The glasses people use for driving or the ones they use for reading books often have the wrong focal point for computer use or are ill-suited for computer use.

This convergence fatigue can cause eyestrain and blurred vision, just as focusing fatigue does, he added. What is more, computer workers blink much less frequently than they would during a face-to-face conversation, and that leads to dry eyes at work.

Computer vision syndrome originated with office work, but the popularity of mobile devices is now straining the eyes in a different way, according to Dr. James E. Sheedy, director of the Vision Performance Institute at Pacific University in Oregon.