Monday, August 01, 2011

The lowdown on Computer Vision Syndrome

by Ana Valenzuela

Published Manila Standard Today July 21, 2011

Problems with your eyesight in the middle of your working hours? Your eyes could no longer focus on the computer screen anymore? There could be many things that could be affecting your eyesight—the sun, dust and air pollutants---and of the main casues of eye strain is prolonged use of the computer

This could be computer vision syndrome brought about by eyes that are singly directed at the screen for a number of hours. “This causes eye strain, blurred vision, and headache, says Dr. Christine Therese Santos, an ophthalmologist from the Makati Medical Center. “It could also depend on your position because you might also complain of neck or shoulder pains.”

“If you are in front of the computer, and so intent on what you are doing, you tend to stare, and unintentionally delaying the blinking reflex. Sometimes mahapdi na yung mata or it gets red because of dry eyes,” she says. So what she recommends is blinking as often as possible to prevent computer vision syndrome. “We well tears to wet the eyes.”

Apart from blinking, she also recommends following the 20-20-20 rule to keep our eyes from straining. “To avoid the computer vision syndrome there’s this 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, for 20 seconds, look at an object that is 20 feet or six meters way from you,” says Dr. Santos. Glancing at a far distance for a few seconds relaxes our ciliary muscles, which help us focus.

Dr. Santos also recommends upgrading to LCD monitor or getting one with an anti-refractive coating, as it lessens the chance of computer vision syndrome. Apart from that, the monitor should also be 20 to 26 inches away you, and arms parallel to the floor.

Still if you get blurry vision, you might need some eye lubricants. However, Doctor Santos says to shy away from tetrahydrozoline hydrochloride, “it just makes the eye white, whatever redness is there, it just removes it temporarily. The notion is if one has dry eyes they automatically turn to tetrahydrozoline hydrochloride but the more your eyes will dry up. The more you will feel your eyes are heavy,” she says. It is better to schedule a check-up with your ophthalmologist and get a prescription or maybe check if you might be needing computer glasses. Computer glasses, which are different from distance glasses, help reduce eye strain.

Doctor Santos revealed that even if you can clearly see an obkect that’s 20 feet away from you, it doesn’t mean you might not have a small eye grade. “Some are near sighted, while some are far sighted, but they can all see 20/20, because the grade is really small,” says Dr. Santos.

Although our eyes have grades, that doesn’t automatically suggest the use of glasses right away. It all depends on how we use our eyes. Some of us do microscopic work like dentists or jewelers who would need glasses. Then, also a large number of us work around a computers which cause eye strain. Also with their constant computer use, children need to have their eyes checked. “Kids are not able to detect corrections right way because of their ability to focus nor the parents know that they are developing corrections,” says Dr. Santos.

Nevertheless the most trouble-free advice that she gave involves our health. Get enough sleep to relax the tired eye muscles plus, “Eating right is the simplest advice of all,” says Doctor Santos. “Leafy vegetables, carrots, squash, anything that is high in vitamin A, all those that you eat go to the retina, especially the macula.”

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