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Squinting at computer, tablet, or mobile screens for hours at a time is a normal part of our lives in the 21st century. Unfortunately, eye problems associated with this activity are also on the rise. Even if you have never had eye problems before, you may have noticed computer vision syndrome symptoms after two or more hours of screen time. Exposure to the blue light from the digital screens can be a contributing factor to some vision problems, such as, cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Signs include:

  • Blurry vision
  • Eye strain and discomfort
  • Headaches
  • Dry, scratchy eyes
  • Neck and/or shoulder pain

Even if your symptoms are mild, they can worsen and cause other vision problems if not addressed. Our optometrist, Dr. Fediw, can help.

FUN FACT: "According to the Digital Eyestrain report issued by The Vision Council in 2016, 60% of Americans use digital devices for five or more hours a day, and 65% of Americans currently suffer from some form of digital eye strain"

Follow These 6 Simple Steps to Help with Digital Eye Strain:

1.) Follow the 20-20-20 rule: What you'll want to do is every 20 minutes take a break to look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

2.) Keep Close: Have all of your materials within reach to avoid headaches and neck pain.

3.) Avoid Glare: Do your best to avoid using overhead lighting and placing your computer near a window.

4.) Get Comfortable: Everyone loves to be comfortable so position yourself at your computer where you have good posture and can read easily.

5.) Blink: Don't forget to blink!

6.) Get check out: Remember to schedule your annual eye exam with your local eye doctor.

In reference to the article, "Banish Digital Eyestrain" by Emily Teel

Diagnosis and Treatment of Computer Vision Syndrome

The severity and length of computer vision syndrome symptoms depends on how long you stare at the computer, your posture, lighting, glare, the angle of the monitor, and whether or not you have other diagnosed or undiagnosed vision problems. If you already suffer from astigmatism, farsightedness, presbyopia, aging eyes, and/or diabetic eye problems, your computer vision symptoms may worsen. This can even be the case if you already have prescription contacts or glasses. Many regular eyeglasses and contact lenses are not designed to deflect the problems caused by computer screens.

Dr. Fediw will take your symptoms, pre-existing conditions, and potential undiagnosed conditions into account and perform the following eye tests:

  • Visual acuity—Measures the quality of your current vision.
  • Refraction—Tests the potential lens prescriptions that would optimize your vision.
  • Focus and Eye Coordination—Tests how well your eyes work together and how quickly and accurately your eyes are able to focus on objects and varying distances.

From these measurements, Dr. Fediw can design a treatment plan to help relieve your symptoms. For people with otherwise normal eyes and vision, a set of specially-designed glasses used during the time you are working on the computer can be very helpful. For patients already wearing contacts or glasses, there are now Computer-friendly prescriptions available. In addition to these treatment options, there are other things we can suggest to cut down on computer eye strain problems:

  • Computer setup
    • Adjust your monitor to about 15-20 degrees lower than your eye level when seated between 20-28 inches away from the screen
    • Reference materials can be placed on a document holder between the monitor and keyboard, or to the side, but positioned for as little head movement as possible
    • Invest in an anti-glare screen for your monitor to help reduce glare from surrounding lights
    • Sit and work with proper posture
  • Adjust Lighting
    • Reposition any lighting (or your computer) to minimize glare and use natural lighting whenever possible
  • Eye Rest and Blinking Breaks
    • Every 20 minutes during your work, look away toward a distant point for 20 seconds to refocus your eyes, and give them a 15-minute break after each 2-hour computer session
    • Blink more frequently to keep your eyes moist

With a combination of the proper optometry care and self-care, you can minimize computer eye syndrome and other modern-day vision problems. Contact us for an evaluation today.

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