COMPUTER VISION SYNDROME By Dr. Mark German, Optometrist at Lakeshore Eye Care Professionals with offices in Mequon & Saukville, Wisconsin
Computers seem to be taking over our lives and along with that has come an increase in computer related vision complaints. The problem even has a name: “Computer Vision Syndrome.” The symptoms include burning, itching, dryness or redness of the eyes along with blurred vision. Usually the complaints begin after about 3 or more hours of computer use. Other non-vision related problems include tension headaches and lower back pain.
70-90% of those who use computers on a regular basis for work or play experience this syndrome. Most of the vision symptoms are due to dry eyes. The association between dry eyes and computer usage is thought to be due to decreased blink rate. Normally we blink about 17 times per minute but with computers use we tend to “stare” and drop the blink rate down to 12-15 times per minute.
What’s the solution? The 20-20-20 rule for start: Every 20 minutes take 20 seconds to refocus 20 feet away. Set the monitor so your eyes are lined up near the top of the screen, requiring you to look down slightly to see the center. This decreases how exposed or open your eyes are and relaxes your neck. Your screen should also be brighter than the room lighting, so dim the room lights and avoid bright sunlight. Finally, if consciously increasing your blink rate does not help then use tear supplements to improve your comfort and vision.
Other options can be discussed at your next comprehensive eye examination or sooner should there be a more urgent need. Adapted from “Computer Vision Syndrome Affects Millions” by Jane Brody, New York Times 5/30/16.
Dr. Mark German is an optometrist practicing at Lakeshore Eye Care Professionals with Dr. Martha Jay and Dr. James Ivanoski. He welcomes patients of all ages into his practice and accepts most insurance plans.
For more eye care information, call 262-241-1919 or visit www.LakeShoreVision.com.