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E-learning Without Eyestrain: Guide for Visual Health For Students During the COVID-19 Pandemic

TL;DR: If your child is e-learning, be proactive to help prevent vision problems. If your child appears to be having screen-related eye fatigue, see your optometrist first and discuss it – your child may have underlying problems made worse by excessive screen time.

(Downloadable PDF of this guide can be found here.)

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Credit: Sandra Schoen

There is one topic that comes up over and over in the exam room right now and that is school. Let’s face it, school is challenging this year for everyone – students, parents, teachers, administrators, and everyone who knows any of these people. Every child’s case is unique and they need to do what is best for them. I get a lot of questions about vision specifically from parents whose children are e-learning.

I know this well, because not only do I help my patients every day, I have two e-learners of my own: Nora, an 8th grader, and Javier, a 5th grader. As a family, we are experiencing this right now!

E-learning can be the most visually stressful type of education because it is a set schedule of screen use for a large portion of the day, every day. In a classroom setting, there is a lot moving around and looking up at the board and at friends to provide visual novelty. In a Virtual School and homeschool setting, the schedule can be much more flexible to allow for visual breaks. Teachers are working as hard as they can right now, but they are not children’s vision experts.

Based on my knowledge of children’s vision and the research I have done, I list some helpful guidelines below to ensure that your children can get the most out of E-learning this fall, without as much eyestrain.

Why is this important?

For many years, Optometrists have helped office workers who suffered from Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS), a collection of eye and vision problems related to excessive computer use. It was originally thought that CVS was an adult problem, but now research has shown that children can (and do!) experience this problem, too. This can be compounded by the increased screen time and the general stress of e-learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Common symptoms from long-term computer use are:

  • Eyestrain
  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry eyes
  • Neck and shoulder pain

It is not hard to imagine how any or all of these can make learning difficult for a child who has to be in front of a computer or laptop most of the week.

What can you do?

1. Have The Right Set up

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Nora’s Workstation

My personal preference for my children is that their workstations are in public areas of the house, like the living room and dining room. This has several advantages. One is that we can easily check on them and help them if needed. Another is that it is a psychological distinction of their “work area” from their “personal area.” Also, it is just nice to see our kids during the day. 🙂

  • Selecting a screen – Bigger is better! The larger the screen, the easier it is to focus on details.
  • Screen settings – Often selecting 110% or 125% magnification helps. Also, white print on black background can be more comfortable.
  • Position the screen – Position the center of screen straight ahead so head doesn’t need to tilt back or to side. Position screen further back on the desk. Allow for at least Elbow Distance from the eyes to screen.
  • Chairs – should be firm with back support.
  • Foot rest – If the child’s feet can’t touch the ground, a foot rest can stabilize them.
  • Lighting – You don’t want it to be too dark or too bright. Being near a window is great for natural light, as long as the direct sun is not shining in the child’s eyes or directly on the screen.
  • Water – Designate a place for a water bottle or cup so kids stay hydrated.
  • Clutter – Keeping the environment clear of visual distraction can help your child focused on class content.

Here is a cute comic about setting up a work station for kids.

 

2. Posture

We all know that it can be difficult to get kids to maintain any particular position, specifically if they are little. However, showing them the proper posture and reminding them often can go a long way to helping them stay comfortable during work.

Here are recommendations for efficient posture for kids at the computer.

  • Their back should be against the chair for support.
  • The chair seat should not compress behind the knees and cut off circulation.
  • Their feet should rest firmly on a floor or footrest (no dangling)
  • The head should be balanced on neck (not tilted back or too far forwards)
  • The upper arms close to body and relaxed
  • The elbow should angle >90° (forearm below horizontal)
  • The wrist should be neutral (not flexed)

(Adapted from Workstation Ergonomics Guidelines for Computer Use by Children.)

Here is an illustration from the American Optometric Association: Body Posture AdobeStock 144114992

3. Do Children Need Computer Glasses?

For adults like me who have “joined the club”, we need glasses to see small print up close. Children, however, have more visual focusing ability so they don’t usually complain of not being able to see the screen. However, many children do have functional issues and benefit from wearing glasses at the computer.

Some of these conditions are:

  • Refractive problems – Conditions such as farsightedness (hyperopia) and astigmatism can make it more difficult to see the screen. Even a low prescription can cause a child to have headaches if they are not wearing eyeglasses.
  • Focusing problems – If children’s eyes do not focus accurately on the screen, glasses can help make it easier. Having glasses can make the difference between working comfortably and headaches and blurry vision.
  • Rapid Fatigue – Some children can see the screen clearly for the first 15 or 20 minutes then start to lose interest because they can’t sustain focus on it.
  • Convergence problems – Some children have issues where their eyes either tend to over-converge (tend to turn in) or under-converge (don’t turn in enough). In both instances having the right glasses helps keep the image of the screen clear and single and makes reading easier.
  • Specialized prescriptions – Some children have unique vision problems and require alternate prescriptions such as prism or bifocals, these should definitely be taken into account.

 

4. What About Blue Light?!?

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Javier’s Workstation

Blue light is a very popular topic in 2020. As I tell patients, it really is the Wild West right now when it comes to blue light protection and companies can say just about anything to sell their lenses. We need more scientific study in this area about which frequencies of light matter, how much filtering is needed, and what are the effects. But after following the research for years, I can say these things:

  • There is very little reason to think that light from computers and devices is going to cause permanent eye disease. (UV light from the sun is a much, much greater concern and that is why we recommend UV-blocking sunglasses for all ages.)
  • Blue light can interfere with circadian rhythm and sleep cycles. There absolutely is evidence that blue light exposure especially at night will affect sleep . The best bet is no screen use a couple of hours before bedtime. But if that is not possible, then blue light protection in glasses, as well as night-mode device settings, can help.
  • There is a lot of anecdotal evidence that patients have less eyestrain and fatigue by limiting the scatter of blue light. The only people who seems to dislike blue light filters are people who need to see colors extremely precisely, such as a digital designer.

In short, I do not believe that every single person requires blue light blocking glasses. I think it can help some people feel more comfortable. If your child appears to be having screen-related fatigue see your optometrist first and discuss it – there may be other visual problems that should be addressed first.

For many patients (including children) a low prescription to reduce fatigue, as well as blue light filter and anti-glare treatment, can be the best combination for reducing eyestrain in front of the computer. Buying a blue light filter is only one part of reducing visual eyestrain. At Bright Eyes and most optometry offices, we can custom make the best glasses for your child!

5. Taking Breaks.

If using digital devices is the problem, then stopping using them is part of the solution. Optometrists refer to proper working distance and taking breaks as “visual hygiene” – like dental hygiene but for your visual comfort. Keep in mind, looking away from the computer only to check messages on a phone doesn’t really count as a visual break! The important thing to remember is that breaking up long sessions into shorter sessions helps a lot to release tension in the eyes. There are some suggestions that are helpful.break time

  • Before classes start – Do a few deep blinks and eye stretches (we often call these Eye Yoga)
  • 20/20/20 Rule – Every twenty minutes, look 20 feet away for 20 seconds This lets the focus of the eyes relax.
  • 1/5 Rule – Every hour take at least a 5 minute break and move around. This wakes these eyes, body, and brain up, especially if they go outside (see #6).

I know that you do not have perfect control of your children’s schedule, but by setting reminders you can try to develop these habits. (See Dr. Beth’s video below.)

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6. Getting Outdoors!

What is even better than looking out a window? Actually getting outside and moving around. Children’s brains (and mood!) function better with some good old physical activity. When I am at home with my e-learning kids, I make a point of scheduling a time for us all to go for a run together, but this is not always possible (darn rain!). Even if they can’t exercise, just being outdoors is great for them. The change of scenery will help break up the routine.

Even if it just a short walk of the dog, or just standing in the yard or back porch, there are big visual benefits. First, the eyes get to fully relax when they look very far away. Instead of the space of just 5 or 10 feet in the room, outside we can 100 or 1000 feet away. Second, the natural light contains the full spectrum of light frequencies. Also, we tend to blink a lot more when we are outside moving around than we are just looking at a screen “in the zone” of e-learning. This keeps the eyes moist and comfortable. And there is a lot of research that shows that taking young children outside is one of the best ways to reduce the chances of them becoming myopic (nearsighted).

Of course, if you are outside in sun, wear sunglasses to protect the eyes from UV light!

 

7. When To Check With Your Children’s Eye Doctor.

Extensive computer use more difficult for all patients, but some children are at greater risk. Here are some situations when you should schedule an eye and vision evaluation for your child who is e-learning:

  • Pre-existing visual problems – If your child has on-going visual dysfunction, definitely have an evaluation and discuss all the options to limit the visual stress of e-learning.
  • Symptoms – Any symptoms of fatigue or eyestrain should be evaluated.
  • Overdue – Many patients are overdue for visits due to offices being closed in the spring. Children’s vision can change extremely rapidly, so we recommend annual exams for children in school. This is especially true if they are e-learning.

I want to highlight one specific symptom – blurry vision when looking far away. This can happen for several reasons but there are 2 important reasons to consider:

  1. Recently developed myopia (AKA nearsightedness).
  2. Eyestrain up-close is causing a focusing spasm (a red flag)

Both of these are on the rise around the world generally due to increased screen time and decreased outdoor time. Both of them have management options that can reduce future problems, including good habits, glasses, and vision therapy. Make sure you discuss this with your child’s eye doctor at their appointment.

Conclusion

And that’s it. I know it was kind of long, but it is important. As different as it is from classroom education, e-learning can be be very effective. And it certainly is beneficial in social distancing and keeping everyone safer from COVID-19. With the information above you can help make sure that e-learning does not cause vision problems as well.

Good luck this year! We are cheering for you. If we can help in any way, please reach out at brighteyestampa.com or (813) 792-0637.

-Dr. Nate

 

 

Dr. Beth’s Screen Time Tips

Between Virtual School, Facetime with family and friends, and (yes) the occasional video game, screen time is off the charts right now in our house. Maybe yours, too. To help, Dr. Beth made this 1-minute video to remind people about visual hygiene, a fancy word that means “keeping your eyes from getting tired.”

Dr. Beth’s top 4 recommendations for comfortable screen time.

  • Remember the 20/20/20 Rule. Every 20 minutes look 20 feet away for 20 seconds to relax the eyes.
  • Smaller screens cause more eyestrain than larger screens, so use the TV instead of phones or tablets when you can.
  • Remember Elbow Distance, the distance from our first to the elbow.
  • Use reading or close work glasses if they have been prescribed for you.

If you have any questions, let us know. If you or your children have symptoms such as blurry vision, headaches, or double vision, definitely let us know.

-Dr. Nate

 

 

Top Ten New Years Resolutions for Screen time and Kids Eyes

(Note – You can read my previous Top Ten New Year’s Resolutions for Healthy Vision for Eye Health, Children’s Vision, Saving Money on Eyecare, Myopia Control, and Computer Vision Syndrome, -Dr. Nate)

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Did your child receive any gifts with screens this holiday season? Or gifts such as a movie or new video game that are viewed on screens? My kids did. And they are VERY excited about them. They are not alone. The kids that I see in my office beg, whine, wheedle, and cajole their parents into as much screen time as possible. Many of them have their own tablets. And this is incredibly common. In fact, one 2015 study found that three quarters of 4 year-olds had their own devices.

There are obvious benefits for children to use technology. They can watch educational programming, Skype with distant friends and relatives, and download STEM and creative apps. But all of this screen time can come with downsides. One is childhood obesity. Another is social awareness and skill.

Others problem associated with screen time have to do with vision. This is something I talk about all day, every day at Bright Eyes Kids. Increased screen time can put children at risk for myopia (nearsightedness). Games such as Minecraft can be great, but can cause headaches and blurry vision due to eyestrain. In fact, eyestrain from device use can actually contribute to digital eyestrain or other visual problems that can make school work more difficult and require vision therapy to treat.

10 ways to keep your child’s electronic device use healthy:

  1. Set a clear Family Media Use Plan. For example, in my house, my children are not allowed screen time before noon. It is worth reading the American Academy of Pediatrics statement on media use from October 2016 to get some ideas.
  2. Optometrists recommend that people of all ages limit screen time to 20 minute intervals. Teach your child about the 202020 rule, every 20 minutes, take a 20 second break, and focus on something 20 feet away. Every hour, take a longer break.
  3. Buy a blue light reducing screen protector for your child’s phone, computer or tablet. http://health-e.com/offers one that reduces by 30%, but they offer through select optometrists 60% reduction.
  4. Mitigate the potential damage of focusing on close images, by having your child spend 2 hours a day outside. A recent study showed a 2% reduction of Myopia progression for every hour a week spent outside, or 28% for 2 hours a day.
  5. Minimize electronic device usage at night, a recent Harvard study showed that blue light at night effects melatonin levels, which effect sleep, blood sugar levels, and may be linked to certain other diseases.
  6. Ask your doctor about computer glasses or contacts which are specially designed to reduce eye strain by reducing the visual focus needed for computer use.
  7. Create fun alternatives to electronic devices, write a list of “cool” activities to do throughout the week. Great alternatives are outdoor time, board games, and creative projects. Even things as simple as walking to grocery store can be more rewarding than most things are your child’s screen.
  8. Role model proper screen use. As always our children learn from us, if we are glued to the screen, they will be less likely to take screen limitations seriously. Make a New Year’s resolution to limit your screen time and be more present for your kids. This is hard, but important!
  9. Make sure your child’s posture is not being affected by the chair or couch they are using while watching TV or on the computer. Adolescents with high computer usage were nearly twice as likely to report neck and back pain than those with moderate use.
  10. Talk to your eye doctor if your child avoids using the computer or complains about blurred vision or eye fatigue when using a screen, as this may signify a larger issue that needs to be addressed.

Happy New Year. May 2017 be better than 2016. 🙂

-Dr. Nate

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Minecraft & Your Child’s Eyes

minecraftMinecraft doesn’t come up in conversation every day at Bright Eyes Kids, but pretty close to it. I typically ask all my patients, young and old, what they do for fun and Minecraft is the first thing many kids say. And if you spend any time at a mall, school, or other place with kids, you will see lots of kids in Minecraft-themed t-shirts (but you might not get the jokes unless you have played it yourself.) And now Microsoft just bought the company that makes Minecraft for $2.5 Billion (with a B). Clearly they think someone is playing this game.

I don’t have a “love/hate” relationship with Minecraft. It is more of “respect/worry” relationship.

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There are many reasons why I respect Minecraft. I have read the story of how Minecraft came to be, and I must say, it is pretty cool: one guy making a game that became a community, mostly by himself. Being a huge Lego fan, I like the simplicity of building with digital blocks. I love all of the amazingly creative projects that dedicated players build.
But I do worry about all the Minecrafters. We have long known that Computer Vision Syndrome can affect office workers who spend their day on the computer. But children who spend a lot of time at the computer can develop the same symptoms. Simple Google searches show that Minecraft fans complain of blurry vision, headache, eye strain and red eyes, and they worry that the game is harming their eyesight.

Check out the infographic at the bottom of the post. It shows that kids are using devices for both fun and schoolwork. Parents tend to underestimate how much time their children use devices. Some kids use devices a lot – 7 hours or more each. I am betting that they do not find their off-screen homework as compelling as games like Minecraft.

Take this scenario: Parents bring in a child for an eye examination because their child is having headaches and blurry vision that only started in the last few months. When I ask if anything changed in this time, they will mention that their child got an iPad and have been playing Minecraft and other games. The evaluation confirms that the child is now having eyestrain and focusing problems from excessive device use.

This is more common than you might expect. In a recent AOA survey 4 out of 5 (or 83%) of kids say they have tired or blurry eyes after device use. That is a huge number!

Here are some suggestions to keep children’s eyes comfortable while using a device:

  • Check in with them, so you know how they are doing. Kids often don’t realize they are having problems.
  • Have them take frequent breaks (follow the 20-20-20 rule)
  • Limit their overall scree time and make them get outside.
  • Make sure they hold the device at a safe distance (Elbow distance)
  • Keep even room lighting
  • Wear reading glasses, if prescribed
If you have concerns about your children’s eyes or have concerns about the effect that device use may be having on their eyes and vision, call us to book an appointment. We would be happy to see your children at either Bright Eyes Family Vision Care in Westchase or the office just for children, Bright Eyes Kids in New Tampa.

DrNateSig

 

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screen_time_infographic

Mashable’s Great New Computer Vision Syndome Infographic

CVS MashableIf you spend a lot of time on the internet, then you probably are familiar with Mashable. It is pretty much the leading website covering online and high-tech trends. Mashable knows its readers and knows they spend a lot of time on computers and digital devices. Therefore, it continues to publish information about Computer Vision Syndrome – the group of visual conditions that affect people who spend many hours on the computer.

Last year Mashable published the article I wrote, 5 Important Tips for Better Eye Health in a Digital World. Recently, they published a great infographic (thumbnail on the right), with lots of useful information about how eyes and technology interact.

Check it out and, as always, if you have any questions, do not hesitate to come in for an eye exam. 🙂

Dr. Nate

Nathan Bonilla-Warford, OD
Bright Eyes Family Vision Care
Located in the Westchase area of Tampa.

New EyeFiles Video on How Computer Use Can Affect Children’s Vision

Have you ever flown on an airplane? While watching the luggage come and go, you’ve probably noticed that all of the workers have large earmuffs on. Why earmuffs in Florida? They wear them because the planes are loud! Workers at airports need to protect their ears so the noise won’t hurt them and cause hearing problems.

Workers in offices also have to be careful, not usually from loud noise but from computer use. Just like repeated exposure to loud noise can cause hearing problems, long hours focusing on the computer or digital device can cause eyestrain and vision problems. This is called Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) and it can lead to problems like watery, irritated eyes, headache, neck pain, and reduced efficiency at work.

Every day, I talk to patients who deal with computer vision syndrome, and I recommend ways that they can protect their eyes and vision. The right computer set up and lighting is important. Taking breaks is important. For some people, I prescribe computer vision glasses to help relieve eyestrain. You can read more about this in an article I wrote for Mashable called 5 Important Tips for Better Eye Heath in a Digital World.

But protecting our eyes and ears is not just for adults or just for work. In fact, children may be even more susceptible to certain problems than adults because they are still growing and developing. And increasingly, much of their work AND play takes place on digital devices, so parents need to be aware of how computers can affect their children and their eyes.

I’m happy to share that VSP Vision Care has a new EyeFiles video out specifically about computer vision syndrome and children:

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For more specific information, check out this handy Question and Answer handout that I helped VSP Vision Care create to accompany the video. It discusses:

  • What digital eyestain is
  • How it can affect kids
  • What the symptoms are
  • Steps parents can take to reduce symptoms

If you have any questions or concerns about how the computer or handheld device is affecting your children’s eyes, please stop by or call us. You can also read previous CVS blog posts here.

Dr. Nate

Nathan Bonilla-Warford, OD
Bright Eyes Family Vision Care
Located in the Westchase area of Tampa.
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Questions and Answers about Video Games and Vision

I was originally asked these questions by email for an interview about video games and vision. I was excited because there are a lot of myths and misconceptions about how video games can affect your eyes. Unfortunately, the interview was not published, so I decided to print them here. If you have questions like this, please let me know. -Dr. Nate

Does playing video games cause more stress to the eyes than watching tv?

Playing video games is considerably more stressful for the eyes than watching TV, but it depends a lot on which form the games take. Games on the TV like Playstation and Xbox are different than games on the computer, such as World of Warcraft, which are different than handheld games like those for Nintendo DS (and soon 3DS).

The visual system is designed for looking at things far away without effort, assuming the eyes are healthy and, if needed, the correct glasses or contacts are being worn. When looking up-close, the eyes have to change focus and position. The, over time, adds up in a big way. If the visual system is overwhelmed, gamers can have blurry vision, eye strain or headaches. If the eyes are too stressed to move properly, double vision and reduced performance can result. All this is made worse under stressful situations, overall fatigue, and times of extended mental concentration.

As a former gamer (before I had kids), I know that an awesome video game is much more likely to generate stressful situations, require extended mental concentration, and lead to fatigue from sleep deprivation than a random TV show. So gamers are already predisposed to have eye and vision problems.

But here is an additional twist: When we are under stress we have a “fight or flight” response. In this situation, our eyes are evolutionarily adapted to focus in the distance. This was useful when we were hunters and gatherers to help us see what we were hunting and what was hunting us. But it’s counter-productive when at the computer.

Finally, it’s known that people blink much less at the computer than at other times – as much as 60% less. When people don’t blink, the moisture on their eyes evaporates leading to dry, burning, irritated eyes and blurry vision. All of these things together are referred to as Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS.) Although CVS gets more attention in the workplace, it applies to recreational computer users, too.

What’s the best advice for video gamers regarding eye fatigue?

Hands down, the best advice is to take frequent breaks. There is a rule of thumb that eye doctors tell patients called the “20/20/20 Rule.” This means that every 20 minutes, look away from the screen at something specific at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds, like a clock or a picture. When looking away blink your eyes several times and take deep, relaxing breaths.

When looking away, take note if the object you’re looking at in the distance starts off blurry and then slowly gets clear, as this is an indication that your eyes are working too hard and that you should take a longer break. Unfortunately, that is much easier said than done, because video games are extremely engaging. When gamers are “in the zone” they often don’t stop to eat or drink, let alone take a 20/20/20 Rule break. Some people will put post-it notes on the monitors or set alarms to remind them.

Also, set up your gaming environment ergonomically. Make sure that your monitor is approximately two feet away from your eyes and not at an unusual angle. It’s best if there are soft lights on in the room so there’s not a big brightness difference between the screen and the surrounding space.

Remember to talk to your eye doctor during your annual exam about your computer use – both work AND at home. Let him or her know if you experience blurriness, fatigue, double vision, burning or discomfort at the computer. Some people think those things are just “normal” and ignore it, but that isn’t a good idea. Sometimes these symptoms are the sign of more significant underlying problems. Your doctor can do specialized testing to determine the problem. You may be given a prescription for special eyeglasses for the computer, eye drops to use, or a recommendation for therapeutic techniques called vision therapy.

Dr. Nate

Nathan Bonilla-Warford, OD
Bright Eyes Family Vision Care
Located in the Westchase area of Tampa.
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Top Ten New Year’s Resolutions for Computer Vision Syndrome

If 2010 has taught me anything, it is that our lives are becoming increasingly digital. Not only is more of our work performed on computers and online, but much of our leisure time, too. This is illustrated by the fact that Amazon has recently announced that it has sold more Kindles than any other book or product. But all of this time in front of screens can take its toll on our eyes. They may become irritated and red. Your vision may become blurry or double. And all this may make you less productive at work or reduce your gaming performance. All of these symptoms are elements of Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS). Fortunately, there are things that you can do limit the effects of CVS.

Every new year I provide the Bright Eyes Family Vision Care Top Ten New Year’s Resolutions. In past years, I’ve covered eye health, children’s vision, and saving money. So for 2011, to help you keep your eyes in optimum condition at the computer or digital device, this year’s resolutions list will help you combat Computer Vision Syndrome.

1. Take Breaks – Your eyes work hard when using the computer, e-readers, and phones. Give them some time to relax. Use the “20-20-20 rule.” Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break, and look at something 20 feet away. Every hour or so, talk a longer break. I use and recommend a free application called Workrave that is fully customizable to help you remember to give your eyes (and hands) a rest.

2. Monitor Settings – Today most people have LCD screens. Generally, the larger the screen the better. Increase the font size if it helps.

3. Monitor Position – Position your monitor at least 22 inches away and at an angle that you don’t have to look up most of the time. Making it a natural, comfortable position can help limit eyestrain and neck problems.

4. Blink! – Research studies show that people blink less when using the computer, up to 1/3 less. Blinking washes your eyes in naturally Computerstherapeutic tears, so be sure to blink on a regular basis.

5. Glasses – Make sure you have proper lenses for the computer. Specially prescribed computer glasses may help significantly reduce the symptoms of CVS. Often these are different from glasses for driving and general activities like shopping. Ask your optometrist if you would benefit from computer lenses.

6. Lighting – Keep bright lighting overhead to a minimum. Keep your desk lamp or window light shining on your desk, not on your monitor. Try to keep window light off to the side, rather than in front or behind you.

7. Position your chair – Your body position effects your eye position – and vice versa. Make sure you are sitting in a chair with adequate lower-back support. Position your chair so that you are comfortable. Each person has a preference for his or her chair, so take some time to find what’s best for you.

8. Eye exams – Be sure to discuss CVS with your optometrist at your annual eye exam. He or she will discuss your computer use and can perform specific tests to determine if you would benefit from computer glasses, eye drops or medical treatment.

9. Gadgets – iPads, Kindles, Blackberries and other mobile devices are hugely useful, but have tiny screens and can cause even more symptoms than a desktop computer. Be aware of issues like glare and be sure and take frequent breaks.

10. Don’t forget the kids! – Keep in mind that children can experience CVS, too. And they are less self-aware and are less likely to tell parents if they are having problems. So set limits ahead of time and watch them for any signs of visual problems. This applies to hand-held games, too – especially soon to be released Nintendo 3DS.

If you didn’t have a thorough eye exam in 2010, don’t put it off any longer. Give us a call at 813-792-0637 to schedule your appointment. We’ll make sure your eyes are working their best at the computer! You can also read more about Computer Vision Syndrome on our blog.

A special thanks to Dr. Jeffrey Anshel of Corporate Vision Consulting for providing input for this list.

See Well!

Dr. Nate

Nathan Bonilla-Warford, OD
Bright Eyes Family Vision Care

 

Dr. Nate Writes Computer Vision Syndrome Article for Mashable

Computer Vision syndrome Tampa

At Bright Eyes, many of our patients spend a lot of time at the computer. We try to educate these patients about Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) so that they can be as productive as possible.

As a recent guest writer for the tech website Mashable, Dr. Nate discussed in the article here, tips on how to protect your eyes in an increasingly digital world. An important example is the 20-20-20 rule, which advises that every 20 minutes take a 20 second break and look at something 20 feet away.

The response received is a further testament to the number of people who are affected by the symptoms of computer vision syndrome. The article has garnered over 2,000 “likes” through Facebook and over 2,300 tweets in Twitterville. With more and more information becoming available in tiny font at our fingertips, it is important that we are aware of the risks from both computers and handheld devices, and take the proper steps to protect our eyes.

If you find your eyes feeling tired or fatigued, your vision blurry or double or get headaches when working on the computer, be sure to have a thorough eye exam by your optometrist. If you would like a recommendation for an eye doctor in your area, feel free to ask us.

Justin Schoonover, CPO

Bright Eyes Family Vision Care
Located in the Westchase area of Tampa.
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VSP’s Ask an Eye Docotor: Live Q and A about Computer Vision Syndrome

qmWith American workers now spending over 858 million hours a day using digital devices and kids consuming electronic media up to 7.5 hours a day, health problems caused by computers aren’t going away any time soon.

In fact, vision problems related to computer and hand-held device are so common, they collectively have a name: Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS). I talk about CVS literally every single day with patients.

That is why I am so excited that VSP Vision Care, the largest eye care benefits provider in the US, is hosting a live ‘Ask an Eye Doctor’ web event next Tuesday. It will feature me discussing and answering questions about CVS. I’ll talk about what it is and how you can keep your eyes comfortable when using digital devices.

Here are the details:
Register here: https://my.dimdim.com/vspvisioncare (Check out the widget on the top right)
When: Tuesday, September 21 at 2:00pm EST 11:00am PST

What: A live Q&A about Computer Vision Syndrome, a common condition that occurs in people who spend extended time in front of a computer screen.
Where: https://my.dimdim.com/vspvisioncare ?

If you have questions about CVS that you’d like to submit, email them to me at AskDrNate@brighteyestampa.com.

You can also find more info on CVS here:
http://vspblog.com/2010/07/29/eye-health-for-the-workplace/

See Well!

Dr. Nate

Nathan Bonilla-Warford, OD
Bright Eyes Family Vision Care
Located in the Westchase area of Tampa.

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