“My vision seems to be worse.” “When I am on the computer, things become fuzzy, like I’m looking through a haze. “My eyes are always tired and burning!” Does this sound like something you might say? It’s a complaint we hear often at Milwaukee Eye Care, and the cause is often a problem known as “Computer Vision Syndrome.” It is becoming more prevalent as electronic devices become a bigger part of our lives. There is no research that proves electronic devices cause permanent vision changes, but it can cause some pretty unpleasant symptoms.
When concentrating on something up close (reading, computer, etc.) our blink rate slows down, causing our tears to evaporate more quickly. A good, stable layer of tears on the surface of the eye helps to keep images sharp and clear. A good analogy is your car’s windshield…when you have spots from bugs or dirt it is harder to see through it, but clean it up and you see the difference right away. Some people can sit in front of a computer for hours with no issues, while those with underlying dry eye issues may only get in a few minutes before they start having problems. Dry eye may present in the form of red eyes, fatigue, blurred vision, or even headaches. When using the computer, try to be more conscious of blinking and taking breaks. Artificial tears can come in handy if dryness seems to be a problem.
When looking at the computer or hand held electronic device (or any other near object), the eyes have to accommodate, or make a muscular effort to change the focus of the crystalline lens inside the eye. The two eyes also have to converge, or turn toward one another a bit so that they are both pointed at the object in question. The eyes are generally more relaxed when looking out at things in the the distance. Spending hours focusing on close objects (within arm’s length) can be taxing on the eye muscles, resulting in headaches and eye strain for some. Try giving yourself breaks and look away from your work periodically.
Moral of the story? Take breaks. Blink. Even changing the color of the background on your electronic device can help. Reading dark print on a bright background can cause muscle spasms, which is why a lot of e-readers have the option of black text on a gray or beige background. If the problems continue, come on over to Milwaukee Eye Care for a comprehensive eye exam. Sometimes a pair of computer glasses can make a big difference!
Written by Paula W., Milwaukee Eye Care’ Ophthalmic Technician and Surgical Coordinator for Dr. Edmonds