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Computer Vision Problems

 

Why do computers cause vision problems?

Eye strain

Neck aches, burning eyes

Blurred vision

Headaches 

An incorrect spectacle or contact lens correction that blurs your vision even slightly can cause a great deal of difficulty in using your computer.

Poor eye focusing and deficient eye coordination are other conditions that can cause problems for computer users.

What are some common vision problems associated with computer use?

Woman on Her Computer

Human eyes were made for most efficient seeing at a distance. But computer work demands intense use of your eyes at a closer range for long periods of time. This alone can strain your eyes and may cause vision problems to develop or aggravate existing vision conditions….all causing loss of productivity.

What should I consider about my workstation?

How can I improve my eyesight and productivity?

The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends that all computer users have regular vision examinations. Be sure to note any problems you experience and tell your optometrist when he or she examines your eyes. To improve visual efficiency when using a computer, follow these guidelines:

  • Take a break! NIOSH recommends taking a 15 minute alternate task break every hour if you are a full time user.

Use proper lighting

The lighting for computer use should:

  • Be about 20 or 50 foot candles, which is about half the level in most offices.

  • Closely match the brightness of the surroundings with that of the monitor screen for optimum comfort and efficiency. The contrast between the characters on the screen and the screen background should be high.

  • Minimize reflected glare on monitor screens. Use window shades or drapes to block out excessive sunlight. Antiglare screens are available, and antiglare coatings should always be included on prescription spectacle lenses.

A visually oriented workstation is designed with your eyes and productivity in mind. To help make your workstation more visually oriented, follow these tips:

  • Use an adjustable chair that enables you to sit at a proper angle and distance from your monitor. The screen itself should be positioned 16 to 30 inches from your eyes with the top just below eye level.

  • Choose a monitor that swivels and tilts, has a detachable keyboard, and has both contrast and brightness controls for the screen.

  • Place reference material on an adjustable copy holder close to your screen and within the same viewing distance.

Your eyes…..tools of your trade

There are many tools which you use while you work. The phone, the computer, and yes, your eyes…probably the most important tools of all. If you take care of your eyes, your work will seem easier, you’ll get more accomplished and you’ll be more efficient, too.

Laser Vision Correction

 
laser eye.jpg

Are there other types of Laser Vision Correction?

ASA, or Advanced Surface Ablation, alters the corneal shape the way LASIK does, but without cutting a flap.

What is LASIK?

Laser in-situ keratomileusis, or LASIK, is one of a number of procedures used to alter the curvature of the cornea (the clear covering of the front of the eye that bends light entering the eye), for the purpose of modifying a patient’s refractive error, usually to reduce or eliminate the need for glasses or contact lenses. LASIK is unique in that it involves cutting a flap of cornea that is lifted prior to using a laser to reshape the cornea, and then replacing the flap, covering the area where the cornea was reshaped. The flap is cut either with a device called a keratome, or, more commonly, with a laser called an Intralase laser.

Are there other refractive surgical procedures?

Conductive Keratoplasty (CK) and Refractive Lensectomy are alternative procedures. CK has limited applications (usually only for farsighted patients), and tends to be less permanent, while Refractive Lensectomy and ICLs (implantable contact lenses) are more invasive procedures, used more commonly on patients with very high refractive errors.

Which method of Laser Vision Correction is better?

Either procedure can be very successful. Which is better for you depends on a number of factors evaluated during your pre-op consultations. From the patient’s perspective, the biggest difference is that most LASIK patients see very well the first day after their surgery, while ASA patients won’t see that well for about a week, though long-term results are basically the same. The majority of patients undergoing refractive laser correction will undergo LASIK.

How do I know if I am a good candidate for one of these procedures?

Dr. Floyd, in consultation with our surgeons, will help you determine how good a candidate you are. Your visual needs, your prescription (and the recent stability of your prescription), your age, the shape and thickness of your corneas, and a number of other factors will be considered.

What are the limitations of Refractive Surgery?

Today, refractive procedures can change the light-bending power of the eye, with the goal in most cases being good distance vision without glasses or contact lenses. These procedures do not guarantee that your eyes won’t change in the future, nor do they guarantee that you won’t need glasses or contact lenses for reading and other near tasks as the eyes age, usually after we reach 40 (see presbyopia).

Nutrition and Your Eyes

 

Does nutrition affect the eyes?

Good nutrition is very important for both your general and eye health. A balanced and varied diet rich in fruits and vegetables, as well as lean protein and fiber, is recommended. Vitamins, which contain antioxidants, have been linked with eye health in various studies and clinical trials. They help to maintain healthy cells and tissues in the eye, as well as repair damage that occurs over time.

The main focus has been on the antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E. These vitamins can be found in many different sources of fruit and vegetables such as oranges, kiwis, dried apricots, green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, peppers, carrots and spinach. They can also be found in nuts, seeds, teas, garlic, dairy products and eggs, as well as many other foods.

Are there vitamin supplements that will take the place of antioxidants in food?

While convenient and suggested, supplements usually do not replace good dietary intake. They are truly recommended only to supplement a balanced, healthy diet full of a variety of foods including fruits and vegetables. To illustrate this point, a patient would have to take twenty (20) Centrum vitamin tablets with Lutein to obtain the Lutein found in just one serving of spinach.

Remember these key points for healthy eyes:

• Eat a good, balanced diet with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables.

• Discuss how to improve your eye health with your eye doctor.

• Have an annual eye examination.

Are there other types of vitamins that are important for eye health?

More recently it has been suggested that two types of antioxidants, known as carotenoids, called Lutein and Zeaxanthin, may also help with eye health. They are found naturally in fruits and vegetables. For example, Lutein can be found in yellow peppers, mango, bilberries and green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach chard and broccoli. Zeaxanthin can be found in orange sweet peppers, broccoli, corn, lettuce (not iceberg), spinach, tangerines, oranges and eggs. Many of these overlap with food types in which vitamins A, E and C are present.

Recent studies have shown that a diet rich in antioxidants, especially Lutein and Zeaxanthin, can help in preventing macular degeneration and age-related cataracts.

Other foods that are suggested for optimum general and eye health are beans and whole grains to increase fiber and zinc, and fatty fish to increase omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for normal tear production and stability.

Sunglasses/Ultraviolet Radiation

 

What is Ultraviolet Radiation?

In addition to visible light, the sun gives off two other types of radiation, infrared (IR) and ultraviolet (UV). Mounting scientific evidence shows that long-term exposure to UV radiation can contribute to the development of cataracts, retinal problems (such as macular degeneration) and growths on the eye and/or eyelids that may or may not be cancerous. Even short-term exposure may lead to a severe sunburn of the eye’s front surface.

What kind of sunglasses are the best?

The type of sunglasses that are best for you depends on a number of factors. Glare is caused when the sunlight bounces off snow, pavement, water, windshields, etc. Reducing this glare and brightness is what sunglasses do, in addition to protecting the eyes from the invisible ultraviolet radiation.

Sunglasses generally screen out 70 to 90 percent of the visible light, greatly reducing the brightness and disabling glare. Most patients choose gray, green, or brown tint colors, usually based on personal preference and/or the color of the sunglass frame. Colors other than gray do change perceived colors a bit, but those minor differences can be demonstrated to you in the office. Polarizing lenses are the best at reducing glare, and are available in a variety of colors, as well. They are especially helpful in reducing the glare when on the water, skiing on the snow, and driving.

Image by Herbert Goetsch

Don’t all sunglasses protect from ultraviolet radiation?

It is not the tint color or density that protects us from excessive ultraviolet radiation. It is the material the lenses are made from and how it is treated that determines the level of UV protection that glasses provide. Very dark sunglasses may allow a great deal of UV radiation to enter the eyes, while a clear pair of glasses made of some materials block 100% of the UV rays.

What about lenses that darken in the sun?

Photochromic lenses darken when exposed to sunlight, and lighten when inside. Many prefer this type of lens because of its convenience, although it does not get as dark when you are in a car, as the sun’s rays that change the lens is blocked to some extent by the roof of the car and the car’s windshield. Here in Southern California that can be a concern due to the amount of time we all spend in our cars. Many contact lens wearers like this option for their “back-up” glasses, giving them the convenience of having clear and sun glasses in one pair.

What about mirror coatings on sunglasses?

Are some sunglasses better for sports?

Mirror coatings (available in a variety of colors) reduce glare and brightness by reflecting light that hits the lenses. They are usually combined with a sun tint to provide maximum comfort and protection, especially when around snow or water.

Any glasses used for sports should be made of a shatter-resistant material such as polycarbonate. Today, this material can be made with any combination of sun tints and coatings. Special frames are also available that are designed for specific sports, to make your sunglasses compatible with your athletic needs.