People spend more time on the computer now than ever and our eyes are feeling the strain. Computer Vision Syndrome is becoming more prevalent, even in a younger population. Eye strain at the computer is caused by a combination of 3 things. Luckily there are many great solutions to alleviate these issues including computer specific glasses lenses, anti-reflective coatings and eye drops to improve comfort and vision.
Eye muscle fatigue
There are a number of factors that cause dry eye at the computer. The first factor is that your blink rate decreases by as much as half the normal at the computer. This causes increased tear film evaporation between blinks. Often times, we work in temperature controlled environments with air conditioners blowing on us at the office. This further exacerbates the problem.
Glare is pronounced by the fact that the image on the computer (desktop, laptop, tablet or phone) screen is behind a layer of glass that reflects light and creates glare off that reflective surface. Glasses lenses also can create glare and increase the number of reflective surfaces.
Eye muscles are in their relaxed state when they are focused far away. In order to look at a computer screen, the muscles have to flex to focus light, and hold that focus for hours at a time. This causes muscle fatigue.
Dry eye can be combated most easily by taking more frequent breaks. Giving the eyes even 30 second every half hour allows you to resume your normal blink rate and lubricate the ocular surface. Artificial tears such as Systane Balance also work very well to help increase the tear volume.
Anti-glare coatings have improved drastically over the last few years. The newest from Crizal is called Prevencia and is specifically designed for computer use. It not only reduces glare on the glasses surface from back lit monitors and overhead lights, but also reduces the amount of high energy blue light that gets to the eye.
Near variable focus glasses lenses are a whole new category of lens that are becoming more prevalent in the optical marketplace. They allow for clear vision in the office environment. Rather than traditional progressive multifocal glasses that optimize vision for distance and near viewing distances, near variable focus lenses have a large viewing area for the intermediate zone where most of spend the majority of our days.
It is important to understand the increased strain we put on our eyes at the computer, hopefully these tips can help alleviate your eye and vision strain.