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Why Computer Use Can Cause Dry Eye & Eye Strain

Long Term Computer Use 640Nearly 60% of the Western world use some kind of digital device — a phone, computer, tablet, TV — for at least 5 hours a day. All that screen time can result in eye irritation and dryness. In fact, dry eyes and eye strain have become so common that researchers have coined a name for it: computer vision syndrome (CVS).

What is Computer Vision Syndrome?

Computer vision syndrome (CVS) is an eye condition commonly experienced after staring at a computer screen, at arm’s length or closer, for an extended period of time. It is characterized by eye strain and dry eyes.

Because more people work and study at home as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, eye doctors are reporting a significant rise in the number of adults and children exhibiting these symptoms.

The symptoms of CVS include:

  • Red, watery eyes
  • Burning or stinging eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Blurred vision
  • The feeling of having something in your eyes

Computer vision syndrome symptoms are similar to those found among dry eye syndrome sufferers, a condition that also tends to develop as a result of extended computer use when blinking is reduced. Blinking is critical for good eye health as it rejuvenates the tear film on your eyes, ensuring constant hydration and protecting them from damage.

5 Tips to Prevent CVS

Luckily, computer vision syndrome can be effectively managed with a few simple adjustments to your screen time.

  1. Take regular breaks. Follow the 20-20-20 rule to prevent staring at your screen for too long. Take a break from your computer or device for 20 seconds, every 20 minutes, and look at something at least 20 feet away.
  2. Adjust your angle. Make sure your screen is 20-28 inches from your eyes and that the center of the screen is 4-5 inches lower than eye level.
  3. Use a cool-air humidifier. A humidifier adds moisture to the air and prevents your eyes from drying out.
  4. Reduce glare. Your eyes work harder to read when there is glare reflecting off your screen. Make sure your screen is positioned in a way that prevents glare from windows and lighting. You can also add a glare filter for eye comfort.
  5. Get computer glasses. Computer glasses allow your eyes to focus on a computer screen with less effort and the blue-light filter may also reduce exposure to potentially harmful blue light emitted by digital devices.

By taking regular breaks from your screen, you give your eyes and body a much-needed rest. To learn more about computer vision syndrome and to receive treatment to alleviate dry eye symptoms and eye strain, contact StylEyes.

 

Frequently Asked Questions with our optometric team

 

Q: What’s the link between staring at a computer screen and dry eye?

  • A: Staring at a computer screen can reduce the number of times a person blinks by 30%. That’s problematic because blinking is essential for lubricating the eyes and keeping the protective tear film that covers the eye intact. If you find your eyes becoming irritated or uncomfortable at work, try to blink more, especially while using the computer and reading.

Q: Can blue light glasses help avoid computer vision syndrome and dry eye?

  • A: Spending long periods of time on a computer or device can negatively affect your eyes, potentially leading to computer vision syndrome and dry eye. Symptoms include blurred or double vision, headaches, eye strain, eye fatigue, sleep disruptions, and dry eyes. Computer glasses offer blue light protection by reducing the dangerous effects of blue light and the risks of computer vision syndrome.


StylEyes serves patients from Des Moines, Indianola Hills, Southwestern Hills, and Pleasant Hill, all throughout Iowa.

Request A Dry Eye Appointment
Do You Think You Have Dry Eye? Call 515-416-5505

What’s the Link Between Dry Eye and Menopause?

Dry Eye and Menopause 640Around 61% of perimenopausal and menopausal women are affected by dry eye syndrome.

During menopause, the body produces less estrogen, progesterone, and androgen, causing a variety of uncomfortable symptoms such as sweating, insomnia, and hot flashes.

Among these physical symptoms is dry eyes, characterized by dry, itchy and burning eyes.

If you’re experiencing dry eyes, contact StylEyes today for effective and lasting dry eye treatment.

Biological Changes That Affect Your Eyes

During menopause, the androgen hormone decreases, affecting the meibomian and lacrimal glands in the eyelids. The meibomian glands produce the essential oils for the tears, so the reduction in oil results in increased tear evaporation and drier eyes.

When these fluid and oil-producing glands are affected, the eyelids can become inflamed, reducing tear quality and production, resulting in dry eye syndrome.

Some researchers believe that dry eye is connected to changes in estrogen levels. This explains why many women experience dry eye symptoms during certain times of a woman’s monthly cycle, or while taking birth control pills.

Symptoms of dry eye syndrome

  • Red eyes
  • Burning in the eyes
  • Itchy eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Gritty feeling in the eyes
  • The feeling something is caught in your eye. Excessive tearing

How Is Hormone-Related Dry Eye Treated?

Because reduced hormones during and after menopause can cause meibomian gland dysfunction, treatment should be focused on reducing dry eye symptoms.

Dry eye treatments can include:

  • Artificial tears
  • Lubricating eye drops
  • Eyelid hygiene
  • Oral antibiotics
  • Corticosteroid eye drops
  • Medications that reduce eyelid inflammation
  • Punctal plugs – to reduce tear flow away from the eyes

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Kristina Wittrock

 

Q: Are there home remedies to treat dry eye syndrome?

  • A: Yes. Here are a few things you can do at home to reduce dry eye symptoms.Limit your screen time. People who work at a computer all day blink less, which harms the tear film. Remember to take frequent breaks and to blink.
    Protect your eyes. Sunglasses that wrap around your face can block dry air and wind.
    Avoid triggers. Irritants like pollen and smoke can make your symptoms more severe.
    Try a humidifier. Keeping the air around you moist may help.
    Eat right. A diet rich in vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids can encourage healthy tear production.
    Warm Compress. A warm compress will improve oil flow through your eyelid glands and clean your eyelids.

Q:Can dry eye syndrome damage your eyes?

  • A: Yes. Without sufficient tears, your eyes are not protected from the outside world, leading to an increased risk of eye infections. Severe dry eye syndrome can lead to abrasions or inflammation on the cornea, the front surface of the eye. This can cause pain, a corneal ulcer, and long-lasting vision problems.Menopause causes many changes throughout your body. If you’re experiencing dry eye symptoms due to hormonal changes, contact StylEyes to find out what dry eye treatments are available to give your eyes relief.


StylEyes serves patients from Des Moines, Indianola Hills, Southwestern Hills, and Pleasant Hill, all throughout Iowa.

Request A Dry Eye Appointment
Do You Think You Have Dry Eye? Call 515-416-5505

Try These 5 Home Remedies For Dry Eye Syndrome

Quality Eye Care At StylEyes

Quality Eye Care At StylEyes

If your eyes sting, burn, or feel scratchy you may have dry eye syndrome (DES), a condition that is usually caused by low-quality or low production of tears.

There are many factors that can cause dry eyes. Smoke and dry air can dry out the eyes, and so can wearing contact lenses, taking certain medications, and spending long periods of time reading a book or looking at a computer screen. In addition, our eyes tend to get drier as we age.

No matter the cause, dry eye syndrome can be extremely uncomfortable, and in severe cases can damage the cornea.

While only Dr. Kristina Wittrock can diagnose and treat dry eye syndrome, these 5 home remedies may provide some relief.

Warm Compresses

A warm compress will improve oil flow through your eyelid glands and clean your eyelids. You can make them at home with a small face cloth and warm water or purchase compresses at your local pharmacy.

Eyelid Wash

A great form of preventative care is eye washing. Washing your eyes you can keep your tear ducts and eyelids from getting blocked.

To help remove crust from your eyelids and eyelashes and to keep your eyes cleaner, try applying a sting-free shampoo. Some pharmacies sell over-the-counter eyelid and eyelash washes to clean these areas.

Add Omega-3 to Your Diet

Oils are a necessary component of tears, as they add lubrication and reduce evaporation. Dry eye syndrome can result from insufficient oil, so adding omega-3 to your diet can increase the oil in tears.

To increase your omega-3 intake, either take supplements or eat foods that contain high levels of the fatty acid.

Foods that contain Omega-3 include:

  • Chia seeds
  • Flaxseed
  • Palm oil
  • Soybean oil
  • Tuna
  • Salmon
  • Walnuts

Take Frequent Breaks and Blink More

When watching TV, reading, or using the computer many people forget to blink. It’s important to take breaks and blink more to inspire the flow of tears, which helps keep the moisture in your eyes intact. A well-known rule to follow is the 20-20-20 rule. It involves taking breaks at least every 20 minutes to look 20 feet away for 20 seconds — especially when staring at a computer screen or digital device for long periods.

Tweak Your Environment

Environmental factors can cause or exacerbate dry eye symptoms. Heat, dust, smoke, pollution, high winds, and air conditioning all dry out our eyes. Using a cold-mist humidifier and not sitting directly in front of an air conditioner, heater, or fan can help reduce eye irritation.

Stay Hydrated

Last but not least: drink more water! Staying well-hydrated is good for your eyes and is critical for producing healthy tears, clearing out debris, blinking, and seeing comfortably. Be sure you drink lots of water to maintain your eye health, and of course, overall physical well-being.

Home remedies can relieve mild dry eyes but are not a replacement for a comprehensive eye exam. If the symptoms persist or worsen, contact StylEyes in West Des Moines. We are committed to keeping your eyes healthy and your vision clear.