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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

 

Ten New Year’s Resolutions for Your Eye Heath

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Happy New Year!

Now that the cookies have been eaten and the champagne has been toasted, many of us now turn our attention on how to improve our health. Some people will make resolutions to lose weight, others will think about exercising more and, others will try to make time for pleasure reading.

Because your eyes and vision are vital to most, if not all, of the resolutions that people make, I have compiled a list of New Year’s Resolutions for Your Eyes and Vision:

The Top Ten 2008 Eye and Vision New Year’s Resolutions:

1. Make sure that you have your eyes examined with dilation of the pupils as recommended by your doctor.

Vision changes can be gradual and you many not realize you are having a problem. Many conditions, such as glaucoma, start with no symptoms. Also, diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure are frequently first detected with a dilated eye exam.

2. If you have children, make sure you have their eyes examined.

The recommended age for the first eye exam is 6 months. Children who are in school should have their eyes examined every year (and school and pediatrician vision screenings do not count).

3. If you should be wearing glasses for driving and you’re not, just do it.

This is especially true at night, when vision is more difficult and bright lights make it harder to see.

4. If you smoke, quit.

It has been clearly established that smoking can increase the risk of development of conditions such as cataracts and macular degeneration. Seek professional help to quit if needed.

5. Make sure your eyes have adequate UV protection.

Your regular glasses, sunglasses ,and contacts can all have UV protection. Limiting UV exposure reduces the risk of skin cancer of the eyelids, cataracts, and other conditions.

6. Wear your contact lenses no longer than recommended. If you are sleeping in your contacts and your eye doctor did not explicitly fit you in contacts for this purpose, stop.

If you abuse contact lenses, you put yourself at risk of eye infections that are not only painful but also have the potential to result in permanent vision loss.

7. Never “top off” contact lens solutions. Use only the solutions recommended for you.

Never save solution for the next day and add a little more to fill the case. Start each night with fresh solution. The majority of contact serious lens-related infections comes from not taking care of them as recommended. Contacts are medical devices that only work well if they are cleaned regularly and appropriately.

8. Change your contact lens case monthly.

Contact lens cases can contain micro-organisms that are very difficult to remove. The best remedy is to start fresh with a new case. If you need a new one, stop by our office for a free one.

9. When you work at the computer, read, or play handheld games, take visual breaks to limit eyestrain.

Remember the “20/20/20 Rule”: Look up from your work every 20 minutes to an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This is can keep you more comfortable and efficient. If you spend a significant amount of time on the computer, glasses specifically designed for the computer can reduce or eliminate eyestrain as well improve comfort of the neck.

10. Ask your eye doctor if nutritional supplements are a good idea for you and your eyes

There have been scientific studies that have shown that certain supplements can be appropriate for certain eye conditions, such as macular degeneration. They might be right for you, but they should only be of high quality and should be recommended by a doctor who knows about your overall health and the medications that you take.

After reading this list of New Years Resolutions, pass it onto a friend or family member you care about. If you need help with any of these, feel free to call 813-792-0637 or stop by the office.

Be Well in 2008!

Dr. Nate

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

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