How to Improve Dry Eyes from Computer Vision Syndrome
Prolonged screen use can lead to a host of symptoms, from blurry vision and dry eyes to headaches and neck or shoulder pain. The average person spends more time in front of a computer every day than ever before, but it’s not just computer screens. Tablets, e-readers and smartphones also make the eyes work harder. Intracoastal Eye offers treatments and tips to help you alleviate dry eyes caused by screen use.
Computer screens and the like have higher visual demands than reading a printed page or performing other tasks. The text is not as defined, and glare or reflections on the screen or poor contrast make the viewing experience more challenging. Computer vision syndrome or digital eye strain are terms for a group of eye-related issues caused by screens.
Several options are available to mitigate dry eyes caused by excessive screen use, but it’s important to rule out other factors first, such as certain medications (e.g., antihistamines and oral contraceptives) or medical conditions such as diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis. People over 50 are also more likely to experience dry eyes, as are those who have had laser eye surgery.
Treatments & Tips for Dry Eyes
Artificial tears purchased over the counter can work to improve dry eye symptoms by supplementing natural tear production. We also offer prescription eye drops and punctal plugs that block the tear ducts to keep tears in the eyes longer. LipiFlow can help release the lubricating oils from the meibomian glands in your eyes if poor tear quality is the issue. In some cases, surgery to close the tear ducts is an option.
When it comes to dry eyes caused by computer vision syndrome, a few lifestyle modifications can improve your symptoms, including:
- Reduce screen time, if possible
- Use the 20/20 rule: Every 20 minutes, rest your eyes for 20 seconds by closing them or looking 20 feet away and blinking four to five times
- Make sure you’re well-hydrated
- Intentionally blink more often throughout the day to keep the eyes moist
- Eat a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon and walnuts
- Use a warm compress on closed eyelids to improve the flow of lubricating oils in the glands
- Position your computer screen four to five inches below eye level
- Avoid reflections and glare on your screens by positioning yourself away from windows and overhead lights or using anti-glare protective screens
Contact Intracoastal Eye in Wilmington
If you struggle with irritating symptoms of dry eyes, contact our eye doctors at Intracoastal Eye to discuss your treatment options.