Back at work, back in front of a computer – is your screen causing vision problems?

The holidays are over and you’re now back at work in front of a computer – for hours at a time.

While computers make life easier, they can cause health problems!

The most common problem caused by spending a long time staring at a screen – whether it’s a phone, laptop, tablet or desktop computer – is eye strain or dry eye.

Recent studies found that nearly 90% of people who spend extended periods staring at a screen will experience eye problems.
What is dry eye?

Dry eye is when your eyes feel scratchy and gritty, usually you feel this when you have been staring at a screen for a long time without blinking, or only partially blinking.

Many people who spend lots of time in front of a screen and in air conditioning experience dry eye symptoms.

Dry eyes are also common in people who have diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis; auto-immune disease, or are taking antihistamines, anti-depressants and even the pill. It’s also common in older people, as well as those who are experiencing menopause or are pregnant.

Dry eyes are the result of reduced eye lubrication or tears, and that is why your eyes feel uncomfortable.

Other symptoms of dry eyes are:

  •  Red, or inflamed eyes
  • A burning sensation
  • Feeling like you want to keep your eyes closed for long periods of time
  • Constant itchiness
  • Blurred vision
  • Sensitivity to bright light
  • Watery eyes
What is eye strain?

Eye strain is the result of tired eyes. You may get a headache, have blurred vision, or sore, red eyes, or your eye starts ‘twitching’.

Eye strain can also be the result of an undetected eye condition:

  • hyperopia (long-sightedness)
  • myopia (short-sightedness)
  • astigmatism
How you can look after your eyes
Get your eyes checked

Your optometrist can help you with eye strain, and provide tips to reduce strain when you’re at work.

To diagnose dry eye, your optometrist will analyse the quality of your tears and the health of your eyelids. If you are diagnosed with dry eye syndrome, there are several treatments available that will bring relief. Gulf & Ranges Optometrists have software that helps detect and analyse of dry eye.

Treatment options include E-Eye Pulsed Light that provides visible results a couple of hours after treatment. Because the effect of the treatment is cumulative, it’s best to have all three treatments so that the results continue for months.

Rexon Eye technology is a non-invasive device that stimulates tear production and provides excellent long-term results.

Adjust the position of your monitor

Don’t sit too close to the screen – adjust it so you can sit about 50 centimetres away from the monitor. Plus the top of your screen should be at eye level, which can help with neck strain.

Adjust screen settings

Vivid screens with bright colours look great but can strain your eyes. Turning down the brightness and backlight can reduce eye strain.

Upgrade your monitor

LCD monitors are easier on your eyes and the display has less flicker than older monitors.

Consider anti-glare coating

The coating on glasses reduces glare and reflections.

Invest in anti-fatigue lenses

Also known as ‘computer glasses’ these glasses uses a lens technology that alleviates eye fatigue from computer screens.  The lenses are a type of multifocal lens with a gradual transition between prescriptions that optimise your vision so you can see clearly from a computer distance.

Take regular breaks

Rest breaks for your eyes every two hours can help.

Blink more

When you stare at a screen for long periods you blink less often, which leads to dry, irritated eyes. Make an effort to blink more and fully, sometimes computer users only partially blink.