We are living in an era in which extensive daily computer use is an unavoidable part of life for both children and adults. Previously, a screen was only a small component of work. However now, many are finding that their 8-hour work day or school day is dominated by tasks which can only be completed on a computer monitor. This has given rise to the common patient concern: “My eyes are so tired every day.”
Your eye doctor may be able to help you to alleviate those symptoms, potentially easing your workday significantly. There are several components of the visual system which can be evaluated in order to narrow down the cause of a patient’s eyestrain. Here are a few of those components:
- Tear film: If your eyes are dry, they will often let you know it. This may manifest as a feeling of ocular fatigue, as a burning sensation, as blurry vision, or in other ways. Dry eye may be helped with artificial tears or other treatments.
- Alignment: When looking at an object, the muscles which control your eyes must work together to line up- enabling depth perception and preventing double vision. This posture must be maintained throughout the day, and often a pair of eyes must work harder to target a near object. Optimizing a patient’s glasses or contact prescription is an important part of easing this mechanical burden on the eyes.
- Accommodation: There is a lens inside the eye which changes shape to bring near objects into focus. Similar to ocular alignment, this function is controlled by a muscular structure, and in many cases this system can be overburdened by long periods of computer use. Again, an optimal glasses/contact prescription is an essential part of reducing this burden on the eyes.
If you, like most of us, spend hours on the computer each day, do not hesitate to discuss the matter with your eye doctor. He or she may not be able to completely cure the symptoms of digital eye strain, but there are various plans that may be implemented to assist the comfort of your eyes throughout your busy work week.