Eye Health

5 Tips in Preventing Computer-Eye Strain

Computer Eye StrainYou’ve probably had a headache from sitting and staring at a computer screen too long. Especially with contacts lens, you know that dry blinking feeling that comes after a couple hours at a desktop. There’s actually a name for this – computer vision syndrome (CVS). Contact and glasses wearers generally report more issues than non-wearers. Either way, there are a few things you can do to avoid issues.

  • See your eye care specialist regularly: Out-of-date prescription can be to blame for computer eye strain. (Consult a LASIK specialist to determine if LASIK or another similar procedure could get you the vision you desire.)
  • Square up to your computer: The screen should be about an arm’s length away and positioned in front of you. Don’t turn to one side to see your screen – your monitor should be about 4 inches below your line of vision so your gaze is slightly down.
  • Use good posture: Sitting or standing requires some intention. Roll your shoulder back and down to reduce strain for your neck, shoulders and back.
  • Take a break: Staring and glaring isn’t nice in a social setting and it’s probably not good for your computer work either. A break every 15 mins for a quick stretch is recommended.
  • Blink: No matter what amount of time you’re spending looking at a screen remember to be good to your eyes and blink. On average, when we’re awake, people blink 25 a minute. Blinking keeps your eye clean by using natural tears. It’s an automatic reflex, but when you’re deep in thought it’s good to give an additional and intentional blink to give the eyes a rest.

Five tips don’t make up a comprehensive list, but a couple more things to consider are lighting and computer glare. Some people find that computer glasses help and cleaning the screen of your computer can freshen up your space from dust while giving your eyes a more clear sharper image for your eyes to focus.

If you have questions about computer-eye strain call 404-778-2020.

If you’re thinking about tossing those contacts for options in LASIK, contact 404-778-2SEE.

About Dr. Randleman

J. Bradley Randleman, MDJ. Bradley Randleman, MD, is a widely respected cornea specialist whose areas of expertise include: cataract and refractive cataract surgery with premium IOL implantation, LASIK and other corneal and intraocular refractive surgical procedures, the management of keratoconus, corneal diseases, and corneal transplantation. His primary research interests include the diagnosis, prevention, and management of refractive surgical complications and corneal cross-linking.

Dr. Randleman joined the Emory Eye Center faculty in 2004 and served as assistant residency director for two years while also completing a fellowship at Emory University in cornea/external disease and refractive surgery. He serves as service director for the section of Cornea, External Disease and Refractive Surgery.

Related Resources

6 Tips for Maintaining Healthy Vision

Healthy EyesThe summer is a great time to start a new eye-care routine! Here are six things you can do to keep your eyes in tip-top shape.

  1. Have regular eye exams.  Even if you’re not having any noticeable vision problems, have your eyes examined regularly. Many common eye diseases such as glaucoma, diabetic eye disease, and age-related macular degeneration often have no symptoms. Everyone should have at least one eye exam as a child or young adult, and as we age, the frequency of these examinations should increase.
  2. Always wear safety glasses.  Did you know that each day, about 2,000 U.S. workers have a job-related eye injury that requires medical treatment? Or that every 13 minutes, an ER in the United States treats a sports-related eye injury?* Most eye injuries can be prevented by choosing and wearing the correct eye safety glasses for the job 100% of the time.
  3. Eat healthy foods.  Research suggests that antioxidants and other important nutrients may reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. Getting proper nutrition by eating a diet high in zinc, vitamins C and E, omega-3 fatty acids, and lutein will lead to good eye health. Incorporate foods such as kale, spinach, oranges, eggs, broccoli, nuts & seeds, fish, liver, and carrots into your daily routine.
  4. Always wear sunglasses.  When outside, slip on UV-protective shades. Damage to eyes from UV rays builds up over a lifetime and has been linked to cataracts, macular degeneration and other conditions that are harmful to the eyes. Even in the shade, UV rays can bounce off objects and cause vision problems.
  5. Go to bed.  Adults should get between seven and eight hours of sleep each night. Without adequate rest, eye fatigue may make it difficult to get through daily activities. While not a serious problem, symptoms such as soreness, irritation, blurry vision or dry/watery eyes may be bothersome.
  6. Take those contacts out!  Extended wear of contact lenses can lead to significant problems for your eyes and predisposes you to serious infections that can permanently damage your sight. Some contact lenses say they can be worn for extended periods of time without being removed, but studies have shown that any overnight lens wear increases the risk of corneal swelling and serious infection. So, while you are resting, let your eyes rest too!

For more helpful eye care tips, visit the eye-care specialists at Emory Eye.

*References

About Dr. Randleman

J. Bradley Randleman, MDJ. Bradley Randleman, MD, is a widely respected cornea specialist whose areas of expertise include: cataract and refractive cataract surgery with premium IOL implantation, LASIK and other corneal and intraocular refractive surgical procedures, the management of keratoconus, corneal diseases, and corneal transplantation. His primary research interests include the diagnosis, prevention, and management of refractive surgical complications and corneal cross-linking.

Dr. Randleman joined the Emory Eye Center faculty in 2004 and served as assistant residency director for two years while also completing a fellowship at Emory University in cornea/external disease and refractive surgery. He serves as service director for the section of Cornea, External Disease and Refractive Surgery.

Related Resources

Considering LASIK Before Summer?

Summer LASIKAre you ready for the summer sunglass season? If you wear contacts then you know they aren’t pool ready… and glasses that don’t transition to shades will probably leave you squinting.

I am often asked if LASIK is better if done in the winter vs. the summer – the answer is really more specific for your lifestyle and availability. The procedure is performed in a controlled environment so the time of year will not impact outcome.

You can still get in for evaluations before the summer season.

Do the quick check list:
If you answer YES to any the following then LASIK may be right for you.

  • Are you UNDER the age of 60?
  • Without your corrective lenses, is your distance vision blurred?
  • Have you ever been told you have astigmatism?
  • Are your eyes otherwise healthy?

You could be glasses and contacts free this year. We have a special offer for 10% off LASIK if you share your information with us.

Call 404-778-2SEE

About Dr. Randleman

J. Bradley Randleman, MDJ. Bradley Randleman, MD, is a widely respected cornea specialist whose areas of expertise include: cataract and refractive cataract surgery with premium IOL implantation, LASIK and other corneal and intraocular refractive surgical procedures, the management of keratoconus, corneal diseases, and corneal transplantation. His primary research interests include the diagnosis, prevention, and management of refractive surgical complications and corneal cross-linking.

Dr. Randleman joined the Emory Eye Center faculty in 2004 and served as assistant residency director for two years while also completing a fellowship at Emory University in cornea/external disease and refractive surgery. He serves as service director for the section of Cornea, External Disease and Refractive Surgery.

Related Resources

LASIK Myths Debunked
Fun in the Sun After LASIK
The Top Five Benefits of LASIK

Can You See LASIK in Your Future?

LASIK Surgery Web ChatLaser vision correction was first performed in the 1980s and since then, the demand for such procedures has resulted in rapid advancement of the technology. For many people who previously were not a good candidate for laser vision correction, LASIK is now an option. Because LASIK is changing so quickly, our vision team fields lots of questions from people interested in LASIK, but who are not sure if it’s the right option for them, or what the procedure involves.

To help get you up to speed on LASIK surgery, the changes that have been made in the laser vision correction world, and what you can expect if you do choose LASIK, board-certified Emory Vision LASIK surgeon, Dr. Randleman, is hosting a 1 hour free web chat on Wednesday, October 12, 2011.

If you have questions such as…

  • Is LASIK surgery safe?
  • Is LASIK right for everyone? Is it right for me?
  • How long does LASIK surgery take?
  • What happens during the LASIK procedure?
  • Is LASIK painful?

…whether or not you prove to be an ideal candidate for LASIK, you are an ideal candidate for Dr. Randleman’s chat. All that’s required to participate is that you fill out our form so we can send you a link to enter the chat. You can ask as many or as few questions as you’d like during the chat, and in fact, if you’d rather just observe and read on as Dr. Randleman fields questions on LASIK, you’re more than welcome to.

We hope to see you for Dr. Randleman’s LASIK online chat on Wednesday, October 12. If you can’t make it but want more information on LASIK, you can either check out our LASIK resources online, or you can call the Emory Vision offices at 404-778-2733.

Are 3-D Movies Bad for Your Eyes?

Are 3-D movies bad for your eyesWith more and more movies coming out in 3-D, a lot of our patients are asking us whether watching 3-D is bad for their eyes. Many parents are also concerned for their children’s developing eyesight. If big action 3-D movies are your thing, we’ve got good news for you. According to our eye experts, there is no medical evidence to support the idea that watching 3-D movies or playing 3-D games will harm your children’s eyesight or your own.

In fact, according to Susan Primo, O.D., M.P.H., of the Emory Eye Center, 3-D technology can actually help detect underlying visual problems in both children and adults that might otherwise go undiagnosed. This is because people who have visual problems may experience significant discomfort while watching a 3-D movie.

3-D films work by altering our binocular vision, or how both our eyes work together to see. If your eyes are irritated or tired after a 3-D movie, this is most likely a reaction to adjusting the way you see, much as you would with a new pair of glasses or contact lenses. Tired or irritated eyes usually are not an indication of a real problem.

However, factors that create poor binocular vision, such as a lazy eye, can be aggravated by 3-D. If watching a 3-D movie makes you dizzy or nauseated or gives you a headache, you should probably have your vision checked. Vision problems caused by weak eye muscles or poor eye coordination often can be corrected or improved with vision therapy.

If your child complains of serious discomfort when watching 3-D movies, go ahead and make an appointment with an eye care provider. Children, in particular, don’t always know when their vision isn’t what it should be, and the same problems that make 3-D viewing challenging can also cause your child to have difficulty in school or at sports. It’s good to catch the problem early, as younger eye muscles are easier to train through therapy.

Do 3-D movies bother your eyes? Do you think you may have an underlying visual problem? We’d like to hear about your experience. Please take a moment to give us feedback in the comments section below.

Why Do You Need a Yearly Eye Exam?

Yearly Eye ExamI’m often asked why it’s important to have an annual eye exam. If you wear glasses or contacts, you know that your vision can change over the course of a year. Even if that change isn’t obvious to you, an updated prescription can make a real difference in your quality of life at work and at home. Everyday activities like reading and working on the computer are a lot more comfortable when you have the right eyewear.

Many times, patients come to us for their first exam in their early 40s, when they start experiencing presbyopia, or the inability to focus close up (i.e., when reading). However, even if you’re not experiencing any noticeable change in your vision, periodic comprehensive eye exams are important, because they allow for the early detection of eye diseases and other eye problems—some of which have no obvious symptoms. Earlier detection allows for earlier treatment and a better visual outcome for most.

At the Emory Eye Center, our comprehensive eye exam includes screening for signs of eye and medical problems such as:

  • GlaucomaGlaucoma is an eye disease typically caused by an increase in pressure in the eye that can’t be felt. Over time, if not treated, glaucoma damages the optic nerve and can lead to blindness. In general, there are no early warning signs, and early detection is the key to preserving vision. Often, the patients we diagnose with glaucoma haven’t had an eye exam in 5 to 10 years.
  • Cataracts – A cataract is a change in the lens inside the eye as a result of aging. Over time, this leads to hazy vision. Cataracts can be treated with surgery.
  • Macular degeneration – Macular degeneration affects your central vision and can occur as a result of aging. Depending on the type of macular degeneration, you may experience drastic changes within a year’s time. A comprehensive annual exam can help us detect the early signs of macular degeneration and treat it, if necessary.
  • Hypertension – Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a systemic issue that can affect the eye in a number of ways. We can detect signs of hypertension in the back of the eye during a comprehensive eye exam.
  • Diabetes – Diabetes is another systemic issue that can affect the eyes and lead to blindness. People with diabetes need to have an annual eye exam to check for diabetic retinopathy, or damage to the eye’s retina, which may be symptomless until the damage is severe. An eye exam also can help detect the early signs of diabetes, allowing earlier preventive treatment.

An annual eye exam provides a baseline against which to measure future vision changes and the progression of eye disease or other medical problems. One hour once a year can make a significant difference in your vision, your health, and your quality of life.

When’s the last time you had a comprehensive eye exam? Please take a moment to give us feedback in the comments section below. If you’re interested in making your eye exam appointment with Emory, visit our Eye Center Patient Services page.

About Ann Van Wie, OD

Ann Van Wie, OD, is a member of the American Optometric Association and the Georgia Optometric Association. Dr. Van Wie started practicing at Emory in 2000 and is an instructor of ophthalmology.