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Computers and the Eyes – Part 1 of 2

Written by Dr. Sadanowicz

CVS QuoteWith so many people using tablets, iphones, and laptop computers throughout the day both for work and pleasure, computer related eye complaints are becoming growing problems among Americans. In fact, some studies show that symptoms of headaches, eyestrain, inability to focus, and blurry vision occur in 50-90 percent of office workers.

Because computers are still a fairly new technology, we are just beginning to see the long term effects of extended computer use. Below are some tips for anyone who uses a computer, tablet, or cell phone during the day:

1. Make sure you get your annual checkup: We recommend a yearly complete eye exam to check for any subtle changes to your vision and check for any diseases of the inside and outside of the eye. Most sight threatening eye diseases do not cause changes to your vision until it’s too late; don’t wait for your vision to change to get an eye exam!

a. During the course of your exam your optometrist will check signs of refractive error (ex, myopia (near sightedness), hyperopia (far sightedness) and astigmatism) and be able to prescribe an appropriate pair of glasses for your needs.

b. Keep in mind that many people see clearly at distance and near, but may be OVER-focusing up close, which can lead to headaches and eyestrain after extended periods of reading. These patients typically need reading glasses to help relax their eyes up close and prevent accommodative spasm.

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2. Remember the 20-20-20 rule: for Every 20 minutes you’re on the computer, take a 20 second break and look at something 20 feet or more away. This helps unlock your eyes from the computer screen and “reset” your vision.

3. Beware of Blue Light: Most computer, tablet, and cell phones these days emit a blue wavelength light that has been linked to headaches and eyestrain after prolonged use. The blue light can also affect your circadian rhythms (sleep cycles) making it hard for you to fall asleep at the end of the day. Most office workers, children, and others are exposed to too much blue light during the course of the day.

a. A blue blocking antiglare coat can be put into your glasses to reduce exposure to blue light by as much as 30%. Our patients who have this put in their glasses report feeling less tired and achy at the end of a long day.

b. Most cell phones now come with a “night mode” option. This causes the screen to look more yellow when turned on and reduces the amount of blue light you are exposed to. I would recommend most people set their phones up for this option at the very least in the evening into night, if not all day.

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Please come back to read more about this topic on Wednesday 30/11/2016