To evaluate the efficacy and safety of interventions for treating eye strain related to computer use relative to placebo or no treatment.
Computer use is pervasive and often associated with eye strain, referred to as “computer vision syndrome” (CVS). Currently, there are no clinical guidelines to help practitioners provide evidence-based advice about CVS treatments, many of which are directly marketed to patients. This systematic review and meta-analysis will help inform best practice for eye care providers.
Eligible randomized controlled trials (RCTs) were identified in Ovid MEDLINE, EMBASE, CENTRAL, and trial registries, searched from inception to November 23, 2021. Eligible studies were appraised for risk of bias, and synthesized. The certainty of the body of evidence was judged using GRADE. Standardized mean differences (SMD) were used when differently scaled measures were combined.
Forty-five RCTs, involving 4497 participants, were included. Multifocal lenses did not improve visual fatigue scores compared to single-vision lenses (three RCTs, SMD: 0.11; 95% confidence interval (CI) -0.14 to 0.37; p=0.38). Visual fatigue symptoms were not reduced by blue-blocking spectacles (three RCTs), with evidence judged to be of low certainty. Relative to placebo, oral berry extract supplementation for 4 to 12 weeks did not improve visual fatigue (seven RCTs, SMD: -0.27; 95%CI -0.70 to 0.16; p=0.22), and dry eye symptoms (four RCTs, SMD: -0.10; 95%CI -0.54 to 0.33; p=0.65). Likewise, berry extract supplementation had no effect on critical flicker-fusion frequency (CFF) or accommodative amplitude. Oral omega-3 fatty acid supplementation for 45 days to 3 months improved dry eye symptoms (two RCTs, mean difference, MD: -3.36 units out of 18; 95%CI -3.63 to -3.10; p<0.00001) relative to placebo. Oral carotenoid supplementation improved CFF (two RCTs, MD: 1.55 Hz; 95%CI 0.42 to 2.67; p=0.007) relative to placebo, although the clinical significance of this finding is unclear.
We found no high certainty evidence supporting the use of any of the therapies analyzed. There was low certainty evidence that oral omega-3 supplementation reduces dry eye symptoms in symptomatic computer users.

Copyright © 2022. Published by Elsevier Inc.