Computer Vision

Most of us spend the majority of our days on the computer.  It's the unfortunate truth.  

Computer Vision Syndrome has a huge impact on our lives (and our employer's pockets) as productivity has shown to decrease by 10-20% when our eyes are fatigued, depending on if you look at the University of Alabama, Birmingham or PRIO study.

Eye fatigue is the number one complaint of office workers.  It is predominantly caused dry eye and extra strain in focusing up close for long periods of time.  Both are correctable with a few easy tricks and some updated technology.

Computer specific glasses give a range in focus optimized for the computer work station.  This relieves the muscles in the eyes that are forced to flex to change focus for this working distance.  

Anti-glare coatings (such as Crizal Prevencia) cut down on reflected overhead light and excessive high energy blue light emitted from the monitor.  

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The Problem.

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.

  1.  Dryness

  2.  Glare and blue light

  3.  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 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 created by reflected light from the glass screen since the image on the computer (desktop, laptop, tablet or phone) sits behind a layer of glass that reflects ambient light. Computer LCD screens also produce a lot of blue light that can affect circadian rhythms and thus the ability to fall asleep.

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.  

The Solutions.

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 helpful to understand the increased strain we put on our eyes at the computer, hopefully these tips can help alleviate your eye and vision strain.

For more info, check out this great article from All About Vision.