Ease computer eye strain

There isn’t much research on the long-term effects of computer use when it comes to your vision. Most of us can’t imagine what we did without our computers at work and in home, but it has only been 20 years since these devices have become such valuable tools, and too early to tell exactly how our eyes may be impacted.

Too much of a good thing?

People of all ages and lifestyles spend hours a day in front of a computer screen! Whether this is for work or entertainment, the computer has become a staple in many people’s lives.

Optometrists are seeing more and more patients who complain of headaches, eye aches, or just plain “tired eyes” after using computers for extended periods of time.

What to do if you are experiencing computer eye strain?

Here are a few tips to minimize the factors making your eyes uncomfortable:

A) When we look at something up close like a computer, our eyes turn in instead of being pointed straight like when we are looking far away. If we let our eye muscles flex to turn our eyes in for hours on end on the computer, it can tire them out or make our distance vision blurry. To help, we have the somewhat cheesy “20/20” rule: after 20 minutes of computer work, look far away (down the hall or outside a window) for at least 20 seconds before resuming our computer work. This can serve as a break for our eye muscles.

B) When we look at the computer, we tend to stare and not blink as much as we normally do. This can cause dryness on the front of the eyes, which can sometimes lead to headaches, burning, or redness. For dry eye, there are many treatments including using artificial tears and taking omega-3 fish oil supplements.

C) Computers emit a lot of high energy “blue” light. This can cause strain on our eyes as well. Nikon has come out with a new anti-reflective coating called the “See Coat Blue” that blocks high energy blue light and helps our eyes feel more relaxed when using the computer.

If you are experiencing headaches and tired eyes, see your optometrist to rule out other vision issues such as changes to your prescription or other health issues. If you find that the computer is the source of your problem, be sure to inquire about technology and products that can make a difference.

Photo ©iStockphoto.com/ ninglu

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