Eye strain from computer use can be a problem as living in a ‘digital’ world, we are often staring at computer screens, mobile phones, video games and reading devices. Long periods of focusing on these electronic devices will not cause permanent damage to your eyes but may likely induce dry and tired eyes. Some symptoms of dry eye may be stinging, burning, tearing and possible blurred vision.
The average human blinks one time every five seconds, dependent on activity and exposure. Most humans blink on average 12-15 times per minute. However, studies have shown we blink only 6-7 times per minute while using our computers and other digital-screen devices. When we blink we irrigate and cleanse the eye, rewetting the cornea and allowing for more hydration. Elongated staring at a computer screen diminishes the blinks per minute, depriving the cornea of moisture.
Most people cannot work less and won’t play less on their digital devices so there are some precautions that can be taken to help reduce eyestrain. When sitting at the computer, position your chair approximately 25-30 inches from the computer screen and arrange your screen so you are looking slightly downward. Screen filters may be purchased to put over your monitor and add some more light to the work area to reduce glare from the screen. In ophthalmology 20/20 is considered optimal vision. Use this correlation in vision to remind you to look away from your digital device every 20 minutes and focus on something 20 feet away. Artificial tears are also very helpful in keeping the eyes lubricated. Use a drop in each eye if you begin to experience any of the dry eye symptoms mentioned in paragraph one. Take breaks from the computer often, even if just for a few minutes and make sure you are getting plenty of sleep at night. Most of all….BLINK, BLINK, BLINK.
Guest Blogger: Ivan Jacobs, M.D. Cataract & Glaucoma Specialist at The Eye Care & Surgery Center