Are tired, achy eyes holding you back?
Many professionals believe a long day of work means headaches, blurred vision, tired eyes and ‘pushing through’ the pain. But working long hours on a computer doesn’t mean your eyes, health or productivity have to suffer. At Overlake Family Vision, we offer a wide range of options for people who want relief from eye strain, blurry vision and increased productivity … and to look GREAT too! We offer the latest in vision exam technology along with a wide selection of high performance lenses and frame options!
Coping with computer vision syndrome
by Dr. Mary Baker
Working at your computer for hours can really make you blurry eyed. And that’s just the start of it. Eyestrain and dry irritated eyes are all part of a modern malady called computer vision syndrome. Other symptoms can include headaches and sensitivity to light.
Seventy-five to 90% of computer users experience some form of computer vision syndrome. Reading and detailed near work require intricate, well-coordinated visual skills. When you do near work for long periods of time it causes eye strain and other difficulties.
Many people have minor vision problems that never bothered them until they spent hours doing close-up work, such as using the computer. One of my patients, a student named Jan, was having difficulties remembering her studies and had to work extra hard to cope. It was determined that her problem was vision-related and we set up a course of action to resolve it.
Computer vision problems can be a result of both the work environment and personal habits. Fortunately, whether you’re an office worker or student, there are several steps you can take to reduce or eliminate the symptoms.
- Take frequent breaks from looking at the monitor. Glance out the window and concentrate on making distant objects clear. This relaxes the eyes and can reduce eyestrain.
- Make sure that your eye glasses prescription is up to date.
- Ask your eye doctor if you can benefit from performance computer glasses. Also ask about lens coatings and tints that can reduce glare and improve visual comfort.
- Blink frequently and use rewetting drops especially if you wear contact lenses.
- Angle the computer monitor so that it is 10-15 degrees below eye level and slightly tilted upward. The screen should be approximately 16 inches from your eyes.
- Adjust room lighting to reduce glare and light reflection on the screen. Lights and windows should be next to you, not in front of or behind you.
If all of these suggestions do not reduce eyestrain, you should have your eyes examined by an eye doctor who understands computer vision syndrome. One of my patients, Mike who works at Microsoft, experienced double vision that was helped by corrective glasses. However, by the end of the work day he experienced extreme eye strain. Mike’s goal was to pass the graduate school entrance exam and he was very concerned about eye strain that caused severe headaches and could affect the exam. We worked together on vision therapy exercises that solved his problem and he passed the exam with flying colors.
Results of vision therapy can include improved visual efficiency, increased job performance and productivity, and possibly more energy at the end of the day. Best of all, because good vision skills are learned, the new vision skills gained through vision therapy usually last a lifetime!
Dr. Mary E. Baker is a behavioral optometrist at Overlake Family Vision at Overlake Hospital in Bellevue, Wash. A behavioral optometrist tests for vision skills and eye health and provides clinical guidance to improve visual efficiency. Visit overlakefamilyvision.com or call (425)638-0700 for more information.
The names of the patients have been changed.