This is How Computer Screens Affect Your Eyes

Just How Bad Are Computer Screens for Your Eyes?

Nowadays, people of all ages are spending more hours focused on digital screens – whether it’s a computer screen at work, or a smart phone screen or TV screen to relax. Inevitably, all of that staring can put a real strain on the eyes.

How does the Computer Screen Affect Vision?

Computer screens affect vision through repetition. Just like repetitive stress injuries at work, continuous strain on the eyes by digital screens can result in discomfort and pain.

When you stare at a computer screen, it requires the eyes’ continual focus, moving back and forth and realigning what you are seeing. If you look down at papers then back at the computer screen, the eyes have to accommodate to changing images on the screen in order to create a clear picture for the brain to interpret.

All of these functions occur within milliseconds, and require significant effort from eye muscles. It adds more strain than reading a book or piece of paper because a computer screen fluctuates in contrast, flicker, and glare.

Symptoms and Signs

Regular computer use can be the source of significant eye strain and discomfort. If you have computer vision syndrome, you may experience some or all of these symptoms:

  • Blurred vision
  • Double vision
  • Dry, red eyes
  • Eye irritation
  • Headaches
  • Neck or back pain

If these symptoms are not treated, they can have a negative effect on your work performance.

Relief and Treatment

If you work in front of a computer all day, you’re likely familiar with the above symptoms – irritated, fuzzy, and dry eyes. Just two hours in front of a screen starts to put people at risk, especially when that amount of time is easy to hit when you combine computer work, smart phone usage, television, etc. Here are a few things you can do to minimize the discomfort and potential damage:

  • Use proper lighting. Reduce the glare on the computer by adjusting the lighting around you. Adjust the monitor and close the shades. Reduce interior lighting by using fewer light bulbs or fluorescent tubes. Position your computer monitor or screen so windows are to the side, not front or behind.
  • Enlarge the text. Staring at small text can put strain on your eyes by squinting, resulting in fatigue and headaches. Enlarge the text size and color contrast to make things easier to read.
  • Give your eyes a break. When we stare at screens, we often forget to take a break. Look away from the screen every 20 minutes and either gaze out the window or around the room to rest your eyes. If time allows, take four additional five-minute breaks throughout the workday. This will increase productivity. If unsure of what to do during these breaks, stand up, move around and stretch your arms, legs, back, neck, and shoulders to reduce tension and muscle fatigue.
  • Remember to blink. People often forget to blink while working at a computer. Tears coating the eye evaporate more rapidly during long non-blinking periods and can cause dry eyes. The air in many offices is dry, which can increase how quickly your tears evaporate. If you experience dry eyes, consult your doctor about artificial tears for use during the day. Try this exercise throughout the day to ease discomfort in the eyes: every 20 minutes, blink 10 times – slowly. This will help rehydrate your eyes.
  • Exercise your eyes. Reduce the risk of tiring your eyes by looking away from you computer every 20 minutes, and gaze at a distant object 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. This encourages the eyes to relax the muscles inside the eye to reduce fatigue. Another exercise is to look far away at an object for 10-15 seconds then gaze at something up-close for 10-15 seconds. Do this 10 times. This exercise will help reduce the risk of your eyes locking up after prolonged computer use.
  • Consider computer eyewear. For additional comfort at you computer, modify your eyeglasses prescription to create customized computer glasses. This is ideal if you normally wear contact lenses, which may become dry and uncomfortable during sustained computer usage. If you wear contacts, try silicone hydrogel contact lenses for more comfort.

If you’re struggling with an eye health problem that doesn’t appear to be going away, be sure to get in contact with Dr. Ghosheh at Advanced Eye Medical. He can help diagnose what’s causing your issues and provide you with the necessary processes to resolving it.

Reversing Eye Damage with Eye Exercises

Eye Exercises: Can They Help Reverse Eye Damage?

We use our eyes for everything on a daily basis. Whether it’s reading or using a computer, our eyes are constantly hard at work. Because our eyes work so hard, they can get exhausted and strained often, which can lead to overall eye damage. It is important to relax and rest your eyes so your vision can perform at its best. Relaxing and remaining calm with your eyesight is a great strategy that will help your eyesight for years to come, but it is also important to engage in exercises. There are many eye exercises you can do to improve your eyesight. It only takes a few exercises to break bad habits and reduce eye pain, injury and irritation.

It Starts with Prevention

Before we delve into exercises, it is crucial to take these preventative steps. Following these precautions will reduce eye damage that can lead to permanent issues with your vision:

  • Take adequate breaks. If you’re at work, take an eye break from your computer every hour. You could walk around your office or get up from your desk to take a break.
  • Blink often. This keeps your eyes lubricated and healthy. Try opening and closing your eyes and rolling them around – this will give you eyes a much needed rest.
  • Try a yawning stretch. Yawn as much as you can, even if you don’t feel the urge. This relaxes your jaw and will prevent tension and headaches.
  • Make sure the lighting on your computer screen is gentle on the eyes. If you can, ignore that glare that comes from your monitor, and reposition your computer if you can.

Exercise Those Eyes

These adjustments will help a great deal, but it is crucial to engage in eye exercise to strengthen the muscles and lessen eye strain. Here are three exercises that can help a great deal:

  • The dot exercise – Grab a piece of paper that has a period or comma on it. Focus on this image until it becomes the central focal point. When you attempt this exercise, odds are that the period or comma will become sharper and less blurry. Do a relaxation exercise by closing your eyes and letting them rest. After a minute, look at the dot again without straining, and then move your eyes around the page. Keep repeating this, and this should improve your vision.
  • The word exercise – Find a page with a word comprising five letters or more. Make sure you stare intently so you can see all the letters, and keep your eyes still. Focus on the word in its entirety and this should cause the letters to blur. Following this, take a moment to relax your eyes and move them around slowly. Take the time to blink so when you look at the word again, it should appear clearer than it did before.
  • The double vision exercise – Having both of your eyes work together is essential to your overall eye health and function. With the double vision exercise, your eyes work in harmony to prevent strain that occurs from squinting too much. To practice this exercise, relax your eyes, softening them when you look at an object, and ensure you use both eyes to do so.

Getting into a routine and engaging in healthy habits can benefit your vision in the long-term. At Dr. Ghosheh’s Advanced Eye Medical, we want our patients to see clearly for the entirety of their lives. We offer all the best advances in eye care, and have the knowledge to make sure you are looking after you eyesight. Come visit us today and meet with our friendly team!

Are You Color Blind?

Are You Color Blind? How to Test for this Vision Deficiency

The retina of the eye has two types of light-sensitive cells called rods and cones, both found in a layer at the back of your eye that processes images. Rods work in low light conditions to help night visions while cones work in daylight to help color discrimination.

There are three types of cone cells and each type has a different sensitivity to light wavelengths. One perceives blue light, another perceives green and the third perceives red. Light enters your eye and stimulates the cone cells when you look at an object. Your brain interprets the signals from the cone cells to help you determine the color of the object. The red, green, and blue cones work together to create the color spectrum. For example, when the red and blue cones are stimulated in a certain way, you will see the color purple.

People with normal color vision have all three types of cone cells working correctly. On the other hand, color blindness occurs when one or more of the cone types are faulty. For example, if the green cone is faulty you won’t be able to see colors containing blue clearly.

What Causes Color Blindness?

Color blindness affects 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women in the world. Although this condition is primarily genetic, color blindness can result from other diseases such as diabetes and multiple sclerosis.

Red/green and blue color blindness is typically hereditary. The gene which is responsible for the condition is carried on the X chromosome, and is the primary reason why a much larger number of men are affected than women.

The effects of color vision deficiency can be mild, moderate or severe depending upon the defect.

What are the Types of Color Blindness?

There are several types of inherited color blindness. Here is an overview.

Trichromacy is normal color vision, which uses all three types of light cones correctly.

Anomalous Trichromacy uses all three cone types to perceive color, but one type of cone perceives light slightly out of alignment. As a result, different types of effects are produced depending on which cone type is faulty.

Protoanomaly reduces sensitivity to red light, deuteranomaly reduces sensitivity to green light, and tritanmaly reduces sensitivity to blue light and is extremely rare. The effects can range from almost normal range of color perception to almost total absence of perception of the faulty color.

Dicrhomacy has only two types of cones that are able to perceive color, with one completely faulty cone present. People suffering from protanopia are unable to perceive red light, those with deuteranopia are unable to perceive green light, and those with tritanopia are unable to perceive blue light.

Monochromacy, also known as achromatopsia, is the inability to see color at all. People with monochromatic vision perceive the world in different shades of grey, ranging from black to white. Achromatopsia is extremely rare.

How to Test for Color Blindness

Color blindness can be difficult to detect, particularly in children with inherited color vision deficiency. During a routine eye exam, your optometrist should test your color vision.

There are many tests available to measure color vision defects but the most common is the Ishihara Plate test. This tests for red/green color blindness, but not blue color blindness, and contains 38 plates of circles created by irregular colored dots in two or more colors. During the test, the plates will be placed in front of you and you will be asked what number you can see on the plate. Some plates may contain information which people with normal color vision can see while others may contain information that only people with color blindness can see. Your score will determine the diagnosis with color blindness.

For young children who are not old enough to identify numbers, a special plate test will be administered to test for color blindness.

More sophisticated tests are also available to diagnose whether someone with color vision deficiency would be suitable for certain occupations. A Lantern test is one such test, which is used to identify people not suitable to work as a train driver or in the marine and aviation industry where the responsibilities require the ability to accurately read colors of lights for safety reasons.

Regardless of the vision disorder you may be suffering from, we can help with a diagnosis and response plan to make managing your condition easier. Contact the team at Advanced Eye Medical today.

Night Blindness: What You Need to Know

What is Night Blindness?

Poor vision doesn’t just occur in the daytime – night blindness can cause visual issues which occur exclusively once the sun goes down. Night blindness, aka Nyctalopia, can negatively impact nighttime driving, cause some people to have difficulty seeing stars in the sky, and even cause sufferers to struggle when walking through a dark room. These problems can worsen if the person was previously exposed to a brightly lit atmosphere. In mild cases, people’s eyes don’t adapt as easily as most when it gets darker out.

The Causes of Night Blindness

Night blindness is a result of a disorder in cells of the retina, whose role is to keep vision sharp in dim light. The causes of night blindness can be both treatable and untreatable as a result of acquired conditions or presence from birth.

Conditions when night blindness is treatable:

  • Cataracts
  • Nearsightedness
  • Side effect from prescription drugs
  • In extremely rare circumstances, Vitamin A deficiency

Two conditions where night blindness is not able to be treated:

  • Birth defects
  • Retinitis pigmentosa

Staying Safe

The most dangerous result of night blindness is accidents. Car accidents and fatalities occur more at night than they do during the daytime. If you have vision issues, then it is especially dangerous to drive at night since vision is more limited. People that are older need much more light to drive safely at night.

There are safety precautions you can take to avoid this. If you struggle to drive at night, it is best to be avoided. If you do have to go out at night, the following can help you stay safe: you can increase how visible you are by maintaining the cleanliness of your windows and headlights, and when you’re on the road, make sure to take it slow so you have adequate time to react to possible hazards.

Squeezing in Your Eye Appointments

Make sure you have regular eye appointments with your doctor, so they can properly diagnose night blindness and the cause of it. If they can treat the condition causing it, then much of your night vision will likely be able to be restored.

At your appointment, you can expect your eye doctor to perform a full examination on your eyes and ask you about the severity of your night blindness, when your symptoms began, how often it occurs, and other relevant questions unique to you and your vision. They will also ask you about your lifestyle choices such as medications you use, what your diet is like, if you have any injuries related to your eyes or surrounding area, if you have a history or family history of diabetes, what your stress levels are like, and any symptoms that may correspond. Other aspects of the eye exam may include the following:

  • Color vision testing
  • Retinal Exam
  • Visual acuity and visual field test
  • Electroretinogram (ERG)
  • Slit lamp examination

We hope this information on night blindness will help our patients who are coping with the difficulties of this condition. Our team knows everything when it comes to your eye issues, and you can pick our brains any time if you have questions or concerns. If you’d like to book a free consultation, contact us today.