Computers and Your Eyes

September 25, 2013

While they can certainly be convenient, entertaining, and a source for reading wonderfully informative ophthalmic blogs, computers can be detrimental to the eyes. It’s actually become so prevalent that it has a name of its own: Computer Vision Syndrome! Taking breaks from excessive use, using artificial tears intermittently during use, and wearing your correct refractive prescription are some of the methods which can reduce the severity of complications from computer use.

 Computers, or, more accurately, the staring we do while using computers, can contribute to dry eye. Dry eye can cause any number of complications from discomfort to an increased risk for infection (for an extensive description of dry eye, check out our January blog on the topic). One easy way to reduce this effect is to keep a bottle or vials of artificial tears next to your computer; this can help as a reminder to use them on occasion, especially while using the computer for extended periods of time. Remember, a preservative-free artificial tear is the best option if artificial tears are used in excess of four times daily; many quality brands are available in preservative-free form (Theratears, Optive, and Systane to name just a few). If you are concerned your dryness may be more than just a result of overuse of the computer, or it continues without significant reduction of symptoms, call us to schedule an evaluation.

 Headaches and eyestrain are common complications of Computer Vision Syndrome; again, taking consistent breaks can contribute to a reduction of these symptoms. Where you sit and how you look at the computer can also factor into your ocular comfort; ensuring that you’re wearing the proper prescription for computer range vision and you are seated the appropriate distance away from the screen can decrease your risks for symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome. If your headaches or eyestrain are frequent, severe, or concerning, an evaluation with an eye care professional or your primary doctor is warranted.