Digital Eye Strain
The past months have wreaked havoc with most people’s lives, no matter what you do or where you live. It’s become the norm to feel overwhelmed by anxiety, stress, and fear. What you may not realize is the impact this kind of stress can have on your eyes. The benefits of managing stress are therefore far-reaching, helping to preserve not only your body health – but eye health, too. Read some helpful tips from our eye doctor near you on how to prevent vision complications as a result of pandemic stress.
You’ve probably experienced the “fight or flight” response at some point. It’s when you hear bad news or confront a powerful negative, and your body goes into protection mode. Adrenaline courses through your veins. In response, your heart may pump faster, your breathing becomes more shallow, and the pupils of your eyes dilate to improve your ability to see danger.
These automatic responses are your body’s way of preparing for a physical threat, even if the stress is coming from a nonphysical source, such as a challenging project at work or a fight with your spouse. These effects can stress the eyes either mildly or seriously, depending on your individual health condition.
When your eyes suffer undue stress, a range of symptoms can occur – some of which will resolve on their own, and others of which require eye care near you. Common symptoms include:
- Light sensitivity it can feel like you need to shut your eyes when exposed to light.
- Tunnel vision your peripheral vision becomes blurred, leaving only your central vision clear.
- Dry eyes your eyes will feel dry and irritated
- Eye twitching random spasms occur in one or two eyelids.
- Eye strain visual fatigue can be experienced (this may also be the result of too much screen time, an unfortunate outcome of the pandemic too).
- Blurred vision generally, only a mild symptom when caused by stress.
- Loss of vision cortisol, the “stress hormone,” can damage the eyes and the brain. Extreme stress is also linked with diseases such as glaucoma, which can lead to vision loss.
Most people only experience mild effects of stress on their eyes, but if any of these symptoms persist or detract from your quality of life, contact our eye doctor near you for treatment.
Tips to Help Relax Your Eyes
- Don’t overdo screen time, give your eye muscles a break by following the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look into the distance 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
- Exercise regularly
- Practice meditation
- Take outdoor walks
- Eat healthy foods
- Get enough sleep
The benefits of daily stress management will help keep your body and eyes in top shape, functioning at their best!
Many eye diseases can be quickly and easily diagnosed during a Comprehensive eye exam, Pediatric eye exam and Contact lens eye exam. If you were diagnosed with an eye disease, such as Cataracts, Astigmatism, Pink Eye or conjunctivitis Myopia or Nearsightedness , Glaucoma, Macular degeneration, Diabetic retinopathy, or Dry eye, you may be overwhelmed by the diagnosis and confused about what happens next. Will you need medications or surgery – now or in the future? Is LASIK eye and vision surgery an option for you ? Our Tulsa eye doctor is always ready to answer your questions about eye disease and Contact lenses.
Book an eye exam at Harrel Eyecare eye clinic near you in Tulsa, Oklahoma to learn more about your candidacy for contact lenses and which type is right for you. Call 918-582-2020
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The real tragedy behind vision-stealing glaucoma is that most people afflicted with this eye disease do not even realize they have it. As a result, the condition goes undiagnosed and untreated, which too often leads to unnecessary blindness. Of the 2.7 million people in the United States with glaucoma, half are undiagnosed. Most are lulled into a false sense of confidence because glaucoma often displays no symptoms in its early stages. By the time it begins to affect vision, any lost sight is impossible to regain. The risk of developing glaucoma begins to increase dramatically at midlife, which is why everyone should have a baseline exam by age 40. The most important concern is protecting your sight. Doctors look at many factors before making decisions about your treatment. If your condition is particularly difficult to diagnose or treat, you may be referred to a glaucoma specialist. While glaucoma is most common in middle-aged individuals, the disease can strike at any age, with those having a family history of the disease being especially vulnerable.
Pink eye is really anything that makes the eye pink. The official term is conjunctivitis, meaning an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the mostly transparent, skinnish like covering over the white of the eye. When the eye is irritated, the conjunctiva swells and blood vessels in it dilate, giving the eye a pink or reddish appearance. Many different agents can lead to this, including bacteria, viruses, allergens, and toxic or mechanical irritants. Treatment and contagion protection depend on the specific cause. Often the cause can be determined based on history, eye appearance with specialized instruments, and symptoms. Viral pinkeye, for example, is typically associated with increased light sensitivity, whereas itching is a key sign in allergic pink eye. There is a good deal of overlap with all kinds, however. Bacterial and viral pinkeye are both contagious, and fairly common. With any pink eye, particularly if it is getting worse, or not getting any better within a day, it’s best to be seen by an eye care practitioner. She or he will have the experience, knowledge and instrumentation to provide the most efficient treatment and recommendations.
Yes. Generally those that suffer with allergies, or have systemic inflammatory diseases like arthritis and sjogrens’, or those who use the computer or digital devices often and even contact lens wearers tend to be more susceptible to dry eye symptoms.
Our heavy use of electronic devices is causing Digital Eye Strain for people of all ages. Hoya research shows that 61% of adults experience eye strain due to prolonged use of electronic devices. Nearly 25% of children are on digital devices 3 or more hours per day and 40% of Millennials spend 9 or more hours per day on digital devices. The benefits of technology have a downside, especially fatigue brought on by stress to the accommodative (focusing) system. This stress can lead to headaches, dry eyes, blurred vision and difficulty when focusing from distance to near.
Everyone seems to be staring at a screen these days, whether their computer, their smartphone or another digital device. The stress it puts on your eyes can cause a condition called “digital eye strain” (DES) or “computer vision syndrome” (CVS). Symptoms include eye fatigue, dry eyes, blurred vision, headaches, neck and shoulder pain, red eyes, and eye twitching.
How To Protect Your Eyes While You Work
Below are a few things you can do to lower your risk or mitigate any discomfort associated with DES.
1. See your eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam
This is one of the most important things you can do to prevent or treat symptoms associated with computer vision syndrome. During your eye doctor’s appointment, make sure to speak with Dr. Monte Harrel about your working habits, including the frequency and length of time you use a computer and other devices at work and at home.
If you get a chance before you come, measure the distance between your eyes and your computer screen and bring that information to the optometrist, so that you can get your eyes tested for that specific working distance.
Computer vision syndrome may be exacerbated by an underlying dry eye disease, which can be diagnosed and treated at our eye clinic in Tulsa.
Sometimes people who have good visual acuity assume they don’t need any glasses. However, even very mild prescriptions can improve eyestrain and curb fatigue when working at a computer.
2. Good lighting is key
Excessively bright light, whether due to outdoor sunshine coming in through the window or harsh interior lighting, is a common cause of eyestrain. When using your computer, your ambient lighting should be about 50% dimmer than what is typically found in most offices.
You can reduce exterior light by closing drapes, blinds or shades and diminish interior illumination by using fewer or lower intensity bulbs. Computer users often find that turning off overhead fluorescent lights and replacing them with floor lamps is easier on their eyes.
3. Minimize glare
Eyestrain can be aggravated by glare from light reflecting off surfaces including your computer screen. Position your computer so that windows are neither directly in front of nor behind the monitor, but rather to the side of it. Consider installing an anti-glare screen on your display. If you wear glasses, get anti-reflective (AR) coating on your lenses to reduce glare by limiting the amount of light that reflects off the front and back surfaces of your lenses (more on that below.)
4. Upgrade your display
If you have a CRT (cathode) screen on your monitor, consider replacing it with a flat-panel LED (light-emitting diode) screen that includes an anti-reflective surface. Old-school CRT screens can be a major cause of computer eye strain due to the flickering images.
For your new flat panel desktop display, choose one with a diagonal screen size of at least 19 inches, and the higher the resolution, the better.
5. Adjust display settings for added comfort
Adjusting your computer display settings can help decrease eye strain and fatigue too.
- Brightness: Adjust your device’s brightness to match the luminance around you. If the white background of this page looks like a light source, then it should be dimmed. However, if it appears dull and gray, it may not provide enough contrast, which can make it hard to read.
- Text size: Adjust the text size for maximum eye comfort, particularly when reading, editing or writing long documents. Increase the size if you find yourself squinting, but bigger isn’t always better, since overly large text display may force your eyes to track back and forth too quickly for comfort.
- Color temperature: This refers to the spectrum of visible light emitted by a color display. Blue light is short-wavelength visible light, whereas orange and red are longer wavelength hues. Exposure to blue light helps keep you alert but tends to cause eye fatigue after a while; yellow to red tints are more relaxing and may be better for long-term viewing, especially at night. Many devices allow the user to adjust the color temperature.
6. Get computer glasses
Nearly 70% of North Americans experience digital eye strain related to prolonged use of electronic devices. To combat these effects, Harrel Eyecare recommends digital protection coatings, which act as a shield to cut the glare and filter the blue light emanating from digital screens and artificial light.
For the greatest eye comfort, ask Dr. Monte Harrel for customized computer glasses, which feature mildly tinted lenses that filter out blue light. These can be made with or without prescription vision correction, for the benefit of those with 20/20 vision or contact lens wearers, though many people with contacts actually prefer to have alternative eyewear to use when their lenses become dry and uncomfortable from extended screen time.
Harrel Eyecare can help you choose from a vast array of effective optical lenses and lens coatings to relieve the effects of digital eye strain.
7. Don’t forget to blink
When staring at a digital device people tend to blink up to 66% less often, and often the blinks performed during computer work are only partial which aren’t as effective at keeping the eyes moist and fresh feeling. Making a conscious effort to blink more while working or watching can prevent dryness and irritation.
8. Exercise your eyes
Another cause of computer eye strain is focusing fatigue. Look away from your computer every 20 minutes and gaze at an object located 20 feet away, for a minimum of 20 seconds. This “20-20-20 rule” is a classic exercise to relax the eyes’ focusing muscles and reduce computer vision syndrome.
The steps above don’t require a tremendous amount of time or money to be effective. Contact Harrel Eyecare in Tulsa to make an appointment with Dr. Monte Harrel and learn how the right eye drops, eye exercises, computer glasses, or AR coatings can improve eye comfort, reduce computer vision syndrome and potentially lead to increased productivity and job satisfaction.