Norwood LASIK Eye Care Specialists: Are Your Eyes a Casualty of Technology?

In Norwood, LASIK is performed on thousands of individuals each year. Just how many of these surgeries are directly attributed to the visual toll taken by overexposure to technology? How many hours a day do we spend on e-readers, typing on laptops and texting on smartphones, and/or staring blankly on a large flat screen TV with a controller in hand? Two, four, six hours a day? Even those numbers are conservative by today’s standards.


Most of the population works for eight hours a day, during which we spend five to six hours staring at a computer screen. This is followed by several hours when we get home, checking e-mails, paying bills and shopping online, with a big, healthy dose of Facebook, and smart phones filling in every moment in between. Forget about the cultural implications, with all this time being spent on technology, your eyes must be suffering.


Actually, there is no research that conclusively shows that constant exposure to technology causes any permanent damage, but it can lead to smaller-scale problems. Many ophthalmologist report patients complaining about their eyes feeling uncomfortable. This leads them to believe that there is something wrong with their vision. Their ocular discomfort is, however, usually a result of too much technology for which studies indicate that as many as 100 million people are affected. These eye strain and focusing problems are known as VFS (Visual Fatigue Syndrome) or CVS (Computer Vision Syndrome). Some common eye ailments directly of VFS include:


Tension Headaches


The extremely high contrast from lit screens are known to cause headaches. That is because reading extremely dark print on extremely light background can induce spasms of temple muscles, which ultimately can cause stress headaches. This is one of the reasons e-readers, which were made for incredibly long reads, have black text on a gray background. If you are for the long haul with a device that is not a specially made Kindle or Nook, remember to decrease the screen contrast if you find yourself developing headaches.


Dry Eyes


Your eyes automatically blink a certain number of times when looking at something in the distance. When you look at things closer to your face, however, your blink rate automatically slows down, causing tears to evaporate more quickly than if your eyes were blinking more frequently. Without the wind-shield wiper effect of tears to keep your eyes sharp and glossy, they become uncomfortable and irritated.Contact lens wearers are acute sufferers because of how the lens sit on top of the tear film of the eye. Staring closely at screen for long periods can exacerbate the situation, causing dryness, itching, and a strong blinking and grit collection in the eyes.


Eye Strain


When you look at objects closely, not only does your blink rate increase, but your eyes also converge slightly. That’s because the pupils of your eyes get smaller and the muscles in the eye adjust the size of the lens. When the eyes converge as a result, it strains the eye muscles causing a headache. It is better and more natural for the eyes if they are parallel, just as they would be when you look at far distances. One should look away from the screen a few times an hour to give the eye muscles a chance to relax and avoid strain.


What Can Be Done


What might be the most practical solution is to use computers and hand held devices less, but ultimately in today’s technology driven culture that is just unrealistic. Instead, the Norwood LASIK Eye Care Specialists recommend that the best strategies to relieve VFS involves the way you look at an object, not the amount of time spent.


Try looking away for 20 seconds every 30 minutes, and make yourself blink repeatedly for 10 seconds. This creates eye moisture, which is especially useful for people who wear contacts. If you are at work, take a 10 minute break from your work station every two to three hours. Remember to keep your computer screen and hand held devices so they are below eye level, because it creates less strain on the eyes to focus on reading material this way. Aim for 15 to 20 degrees below eye level for optimal results.


You can also add distance between you and the screen, by pushing it as far away from your eye as possible, while still being able to read it. The closer you are to an object the more your eye has to adjust and focus. Increase the font size and adjust the screen resolution and contrast whenever possible, as well. But don’t just adjust the screen. If possible, provide ambient overhead lighting which reduces the glare off screen usually caused by distant or frontal lighting.


Finally, the best way to take care of your eyes is by getting a check-up. When was the last time you had your eyes examined to see if your glasses or contacts are still accurate? The Norwood LASIK Eye Care Specialists advise that wearing your normal glasses for these tasks may not the best idea, as bifocals and progressive lenses are not optimal for long stretches of computer use, so you may need a specially made pair of glasses.