Millions of Americans spend much of their waking hours with their eyes fixated on computers, cell phones and television screens all the while scarcely noticing the fact that using them for extended lengths of time is putting a tremendous strain on their eyes.
According to a Japanese study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association – Ophthalmology, using computers for a protracted number of hours strains the eyes leading to a decrease in a fluid important to eye health.
Researchers selected 96 young and middle aged Japanese office workers for a study of the frequency of eye problems in people who use computers.
The research team collected tear samples from the participants and information about their eye problems (if any), using questionnaires as well as a diagnostic exam for the presence of dry eye disease.
The study demonstrated that mucin 5AC (MUC5AC) concentrations - a protein in human tears - was lower among people with eye strain and those whom used computers for a long period of time. Moreover, people with dry eye disease tended to have lower concentrations of mucin 5AC than people without the disease.
Ophthalmologists and optometrists are very familiar with a condition known as Chronic Vision Syndrome (CVS) which increasingly effects computer and cell phone users.
According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), computer glare and reflections on the screen forces the eyes to work harder.
Added to this is the fact that texts and images on computer screens are viewed at different angles than on printed paper; this forces the eyes to focus and move in ways that are potentially damaging to them.
People who already suffer from astigmatism, far sightedness, and aging can worsen CVS.
According to the AOA, people who spend two or more hours in front of a computer are most susceptible to CVS.
According to Penn Medicine, the following symptoms are characteristic of CVS
- dry, itchy, red eyes
- blurred vision
- neck aches
- muscle fatigue
- back aches
According to the AOA, Chronic Vision Syndrome can be diagnosed through eye exams which look at patient history, measurements of visual acuity, refraction, as well as tests that for eye focus, movement and how well they work together.
While the condition usually isn't permanent, if the problem is not corrected, the symptoms of CVS can worsen over time, and possibly even prevent future use of computers and cell phones.
Penn Medicine ophthamologists say that CVS symptoms can be reduced by following a few simple steps including
- Reduction of computer glare. Placing a hood on the computer monitor, adjusting the contrast and brightness of the screen and making the room a little darker could improve eye focus.
- Keeping your distance from the computer. Keep the computer at arm's length ca reduce eye strain.
- Placing the computer four to eight inches below the eyes in order to reduce itchiness, dry eyes and neck strain.
- Maintaining good posture. Sit in a chair with a back rest, and make sure to that the your forearms on the arm rests are kept at a 90 degree angle.
- Taking a break. Spending lengthy amounts of time at the computer isn't healthy. Blinking the eyes can prevent them from becoming dry and irritated. Standing up can give your muscles a chance to relax.
- Maintaining a clean, humidified work environment. Dust and low humidity can dry out the eyes, and make them more irritated. Working in a location that is dust-free and humidified can be helpful to your eyes.
Most folks rely so much on computers and cell phones that they tend to ignore some of the dangers it could potentially do to their eyes.
But we must never take our vision for granted, because if we don't take care of our eyes, we may lose them forever.
My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word. Psalm 119:28
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Uchino Y, Uchino M, Yokoi N, Dogru M, Kawashima M, Okada N, Inaba T, Tamaki S, Komuro A, Sonomura Y, Kato H, Argüeso P, Kinoshita S, & Tsubota K (2014). Alteration of tear mucin 5AC in office workers using visual display terminals: The Osaka Study. JAMA ophthalmology, 132 (8), 985-92 PMID: 24903353
Computer Vision Syndrome http://www.pennmedicine.org/ophthalmology/patient-care/eye-diseases/computer-vision-syndrome.html
Mucin 5AC - wikipedia.org
"Looking At Tiny Screens Could Hurt Your Eyes" copyright © 2015 Living Fit, Healthy and Happy(SM). All Rights Reserved.