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Computers and the Eyes – Part 2 of 2

Written by Dr. Sadanowicz

In part 1 of this post we discussed annual checkup, the 20-20-20 rule and Blue Light

1. Dry Eyes: When focused on a computer or other screen device, most people simply do not blink as often as they normally would. In addition, a small percentage of blinks while we are on the computer are actually open-and-close blinks. The rest are partial blinks, exposing a good portion of the cornea to the air all day.

a. We often recommend treatments for dry eye such as warm compresses, artificial tears, and some prescription medications like Xiidra or Restasis. However, the symptoms of dry eye (burning, stinging, watering eyes) can also mimic other eye diseases. It is always best to go to your optometrist and have an examination so that any underlying eye diseases can be ruled out and you can have a medication regimen tailored to your severity of symptoms.

With 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.

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2. Positioning: Where your computer/tablet/and cell phone sits in relation to your eyes is very important in achieving optimal vision. Certain glasses are meant only for distance and should be removed to read. Other glasses are meant only for reading. Some glasses are good for both distance and near. It can get confusing. Make sure you discuss with your optometrist when your glasses are meant to be used.

a. If you have progressives: Progressives are lenses that include distance, intermediate, and near prescriptions blended together for a smooth transition between focal lengths. In a progressive, the computer portion of the prescription is usually towards the middle of the lens. I always recommend that patients try to position their workstations so that they are sitting slightly higher than their computer screen. You should NOT be looking up in a progressive to see your computer.

a.i. If you have two computer screens, make sure you are turning your head when switching from screen to screen. You need to be looking through the center of the lens of a progressive for the best vision.

b. If you have readers or “cheaters”: Keep in mind that you need a different power of readers for computer than you would for reading a book or your phone.

b.i. In general, the further away something sits from your face, the less power you need to see it clearly.

c. If you have bifocals: Bifocals have two prescriptions in the lens. The top part, above the line is designed to improve your vision at distance. The bottom part, below the line, is designed to improve your vision at near, about sixteen inches from your face. Computers sit at an intermediate distance, generally about arm’s length away. This is why bifocals are not ideal for computer use.womananddiopter

c.i. For those who prefer to wear bifocals, a special “occupational” bifocal can be made to clear vision at both computer and near distances.
Above all, be kind to your eyes. Give them frequent breaks while on computers, tablets, and iphones!!!

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