Improve Your Computer Vision

June 1, 2009 6:47:49 PM PDT
Tens of millions of people spend four to eight hours in front of a computer every day, and it's only going to get worse! All that time can have an impact on your eyesight. If you are one of these people, you may suffer from a syndrome you don't even realize you have. Ivanhoe explains what it is and how you can combat the symptoms.You work and play on the computer all day; but all that time close up, staring and focusing could leave you in tears! "I just knew my eyes were bothering me," Tina Paddock told Ivanhoe.

When real estate agent Paddock isn't out showing homes, she's looking for homes on the Web. Searching for a sale left her eyes burning, red and irritated. "I really didn't want to read," Paddock recalls. "I didn't want to watch television. They were just tired."

Tina is one of millions who suffer from computer vision syndrome. "Sometimes, they feel like there's sand in their eyes," Richard W. Yee, M.D., an ophthalmologist at the University of Texas Health Science Center, Cizik Eye Clinic in Houston, told Ivanhoe.

Dr. Yee sees it every day -- people suffering from dry eyes, light sensitivity and difficulty focusing at the computer. That's why he created special glasses. "Basically, your eyes are in sauna, but the temperature goes up a little bit so that the eyes are much more comfortable," Dr. Yee explains.

"It screens out the wind, the drafts from air conditioners ? anything in the environment that would irritate my eyes," Paddock says. But even without these special specs you can help ease the pain of dry eye.

Dr. Yee says when you stare at a computer, blinking decreases by as much as 60 percent. "We should be blinking somewhere between ten to 20 times a minute," Dr. Yee says. People should also try warm compresses daily to help unblock oil glands in the eyelids and use artificial tears every 30 minutes.

"That seems frequent, but again if you're staring and not blinking, the tears that you naturally make don't spread across, and there's going to be dry spots on your cornea," Dr. Yee explains.

For Paddock, following these steps and wearing Dr. Yee's glasses has kept her on the computer and in business.

Computer use is not the only cause of dry eyes. Also to blame: aging, menopause, a deficiency in vitamin A, diabetes and some medications. Dr. Yee says the glasses should be available this month and will cost about $225 for the frame and gasket accessory.

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