Due to the miserable winter, this has been a bad year for those with dry eyes. Symptoms of dry eyes vary but generally include feeling like there is something in your eyes, blurred reading vision or eye fatigue. This is caused by your tear film not adequately coating the surface of the eye. In winter the dry air both inside and outside causes your tear film to evaporate faster, thus leading to more symptoms. Generally these symptoms worsen with reading and computer use, during the winter months and at the end of the day.
While it has been long known that computer use contributes to dry eyes, a recent study showed that the effects are far more universal than previously thought. The study evaluated the effects of computer use on dry eye symptoms and found that over 75% of female and about 60% of male office workers who use computers have dry eye symptoms! The test sample was of office workers in Japan and included a questionnaire of symptoms along with a thorough eye examination.
The association between dry eyes and computer usage is thought to be due to decreased blink rate. We all tend to stare when using computers. A good way to be more comfortable while using computers is to try to blink more, occasionally refocus farther away and to use tear supplements.
If those strategies are not effective, you may need other treatments such as prescription drops (Restasis) or punctual plugs which keep the tears that you have in your eyes last longer. Those options and more can be explained at the time of your complete eye examination. Meanwhile, realize that your eyes will be more comfortable once the humidity increases in a few months.
Dr. Martha Jay is a board certified ophthalmologist (Eye Physician and Surgeon) specializing in medical and surgical eye cares such as blade-free LASIK and small incision cataract surgery. She practices with Dr. Mark German and Dr. Josephine-Liezl Cueto at Lakeshore Eye Care Professionals.
For more eye care information, call 262-241-1919 or visit www.LakeShoreVision.com.