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EYE CARE INFO & UPDATES
If this is you at work, you may have what is called Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS), or Digital Eye Strain.
CVS is a common problem in our modern digital society where a large part of our days is spent staring at a computer monitor, on a laptop or tablet or using a smartphone, both at home and at work. CVS can affect up to 90% of people who spend more than 3 hours a day concentrating on digital devices.
Typical symptoms of CVS include headaches, blurred vision, sore eyes, red eyes, tiredness, neck pain, difficulty refocusing from near to far and occasionally could also include dizziness and double vision.
Why do we get Computer Vision Syndrome?
Prolonged periods of focusing on a near object causes the eye's focusing muscles to become tired. For some people when this happens their eyes start to lose focus up-close, making near vision blurry. And when they try to focus even harder to read their computer screen they can end up straining their eyes and getting a headache. Or they may lean forward towards their screen and getting neck pain from improper posture.
For other people, their far-distance vision can become blurred. This can occurs because their focusing system has become 'locked' at close-range, then when they look away into the distance their eyes are unable to relax, causing blurred vision. Some people can mistake this for 'short-sightedness' — where far-distance vision is always blurred relative to near — but in these cases it's actually the near work that causes the symptoms and far-distance glasses won't necessarily help. Some young adults, however, do develop true short-sightedness (myopia) from prolonged computer use. An experienced optometrist can distinguish between true short-sightedness and near-work-induced distance blur and recommend the most appropriate solution to the problem.
Staring at a computer screen can often also cause dry eye. This is because when we stare at a computer our blink rate is reduced. When we don't blink frequently enough our eye surface becomes dry. Common symptoms of dry eyes are redness, irritation and burning sensation. Some people experience watery eyes, thinking if their eyes are watering they can't be dry, when in fact the cause of the watery eyes is actually dry eyes, as strange as it may seem. When our eyes become too dry and irritated they can start to produce tears as a reflex response. Dry eye can also be exacerbated by environmental factors such as air conditioning in summer and heating in winter.
How to get help for Computer Vision Syndrome?
If you have symptoms of CVS, the first thing to do is to book an eye test with an experienced optometrist for a comprehensive assessment of your eyes' focusing and eye health. Sometimes it can be a simple focusing issue such as slight long-sightedness (increased focusing effort at near) or astigmatism (irregular eye surface curvature) that a pair of prescription glasses with anti-reflective coating will make a big improvement to your symptoms.
Often, a more specialised type of lens called an anti-fatigue lens will be what you need for your Computer Vision Syndrome. An anti-fatigue lens is like a mini-progressive lens with two power zones that help you relax your eyes when focusing up-close. Here at Eyecare Concepts, we offer the Essilor Eyezen and the Nikon Relaxsee anti-fatigue lenses, both specifically designed to relieve digital eye strain. The blue light protective coating of these lenses also help to reduce eye strain from brightly-lit digital devices. Our optometrist will recommend the optical solution tailored to your personal vision needs. Prescription glasses and anti-fatigue lenses are rebatable on your private health optical cover.
For individuals with dry eyes, we can also assess your dry eye condition with our special instrument that analyses the quality of your tears and how quickly your natural tear film evaporates in-between blinks. With this analysis we can treat your dry eye condition more effectively. As a therapeutically-endorsed optometrist we can prescribe medicated eye drop treatments if necessary for more severe cases of dry eye. And if you have oily or blocked tear glands we have in-office eyelid warming therapy to treat the underlying cause of your dry eyes.
EYECARE CONCEPTS OPTOMETRIST — KEW, BALWYN, BALWYN NORTH
Philip Cheng - B.Optom (Melb) Ocular Therapeutics (GCOT). Optometrist at Eyecare Concepts Kew East, Melbourne. An experienced eye care & contact lens practitioner with expertise in myopia control & orthokeratology.