No effective intervention for treating computer use-related eye strain yet exists, according to an investigation published in Ophthalmology.
Investigators at the University of Melbourne in Australia conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis by searching publication databases. The researchers looked at 45 randomized controlled trials that compared active interventions for computer vision syndrome (CVS) with placebos between 1991 and 2021.
The studies investigated the experiences 4497 participants reported using optical aids (multifocal contact lenses, progressive multifocal addition spectacle lenses, single-vision cylindrical lenses, single-vision addition lenses, or blue light-blocking spectacle lenses vs control single-vision distance optical corrections or placebo lenses), complementary medicines or nutritional supplements (bilberry extract, bog bilberry, maqui berry, polyunsaturated fatty acids, omega-3 fatty acid, carotenoid, or combination of supplements vs placebo), or interventions (environmental modification, moist cool air device, ergonomic training, or the 20/20/20 rule vs delayed intervention or placebo).
The study says that, although dry eye symptoms were improved 45 days to 3 months after starting supplementation with oral omega-3 fatty acid (n=978; mean difference [MD], −3.36; 95% CI, −3.63 to −3.10 units; I2, 89%; P <.00001) when compared with a placebo, that the evidence was of “low certainty.”
Negative results were observed for 4 to 12 weeks of oral berry abstract supplementation for reducing visual fatigue (standardized mean difference [SMD], −0.27; 95% CI, −0.70 to 0.16; P =.22) or dry eye symptoms (SMD, −0.10; 95% CI, −0.54 to 0.33; P =.65) and all three randomized trials which evaluated blue light blocking lenses reported no effect on reducing visual fatigue.
For the other interventions and outcomes (visual fatigue, critical flicker-fusion frequency, accommodative amplitude, near point of accommodation or convergence, eye blink rate, and eye symptom score), conflicting findings were observed, and no consensus conclusions could be made.
This analysis identified substantial variation in methodologies and measure selection, highlighting the need to develop a core set of outcomes for studies of CVS. In addition, few studies reported adverse events.
“This systematic review finds low certainty evidence for a possible role of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation in managing dry eyes symptoms associated with CVS. There was low certainty evidence for oral berry extract supplementation to not reduce visual fatigue or dry eye symptoms,” according to the researchers. “For other interventions, there was insufficient evidence to establish their efficacy or safety with certainty.”
Singh S, McGuinness MB, Anderson AJ, Downie LE. Interventions for the management of computer vision syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Ophthalmol. 2022;S0161-6420(22)00361-X. doi:10.1016/j.ophtha.2022.05.009