Sacramento Contact Lenses & Optometry

Computer Vision Problems

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Why are computers associated with eye problems?

While you work at the computer the eyes are required to maintain focus and eye teaming alignment at a fixed distance for very long periods of time. This is a relatively unnatural activity for our eyes since they were developed to continually change fixation from one distance to another. There are a number of visual skills that are taxed while spending long periods of time at the computer. "Accommodation", or sustained focusing at near point, "convergence", or the ability to maintain binocular (two eye) alignment at a point close in space, and "ocular motilities" or "tracking", or the function of eye movements all are stressed during prolonged periods of work at the computer.

Such visual stress can induce symptoms of:

  1. blurred vision
  2. eye strain and fatigue
  3. headaches
  4. pulling sensations of the eye muscles
  5. double vision
  6. sleepiness and general fatigue
  7. reduced comprehension and efficiency of function

In addition to these "functional" symptoms related to computer use, it has been found that a person's blink frequency is greatly reduced while involved in prolonged computer work.

person sitting at laptop

As a result, many people complain of very dry eyes (gritty, sandy, burning symptoms) associated with prolonged computer use.

There is absolutely no scientific evidence that computers emit any harmful rays that would cause any kind of eye damage. However, glare from computer screens is a very common problem. Specific glasses, lens tints and coatings may help reduce these symptoms.

Diagnosis of Computer Vision Problems

In addition to a comprehensive history taken by your eye doctor at Sacramento Contact Lenses and Optometry, a variety of diagnostic tests will be performed as part of your comprehensive eye examination and if necessary more in depth testing can be performed as part of a computer vision evaluation. These tests include determination of refractive errors, near focusing skills, binocular vision skills, and eye movement/tracking abilities. A simulation of computer use may be performed using computer simulation instruments to more accurately recreate your work environment.

Computer Eye Glasses

A number of specialized lens designs have been developed to create the most comfortable work environment for you, thus allowing you to work more efficiently at your computer with far greater comfort.

Some of the lens designs we use include:

  1. Single Vision Lenses - specifically designed for your specific computer working distance.
  2. Occupational Bifocal Lenses - fit to give you computer screen vision through the top section of the lens, and closer reading material vision in the bifocal portion.
  3. Progressive Lenses - regular progressive lenses are generally wonderful for everyday use and for those that spend very limited periods of time on the computer. The area that provides computer vision however is relatively narrow and can be problematic for many of those who spend great amounts of time at the computer. Newer computer generated designs of progressive lenses have solved the problems of previous generation of lenses.
  4. Specialized Computer Progressive Lenses - are designed to provide very large areas for computer distance and near vision, but a smaller and narrower area towards the top of the lens (designed for limited distance use). These lenses are great at the desk, at the computer, for reading, and for limited distance viewing (out to about 15 feet or so) around the office. It is suggested that these only be used in the office and switched out for traditional progressive lenses when you leave the office. Some examples of specialized computer progressive lenses include: Access by Sola, AO Technica, Office by Shameer, etc.

Lens Coatings and Tints for Computer Use

Although many eye care professionals have suggested the use of strange and unusual lens tints to help with computer vision syndrome, generally speaking the most appropriate lens treatment is anti-reflective lens coatings. As light passes through a lens there are numerous surfaces of the lens where reflection occurs. The result is increased glare and reduced vision quality. AR coatings greatly reduce reflections at all surfaces. The typical result is less glare symptoms and improved comfort. Other tints and coatings that may be useful while working at the computer are all very individual in terms of preference. They include neutral density gray tint, pink tint, polarization, and others.

Our board certified opticians are highly trained and experienced to give you the best advice on what type of lens designs and lens surface treatments may be most appropriate for your individual circumstance.

Eye Exercises for Computer Vision Problems

Many vision problems that lead to symptoms while working at the computer are treated successfully with simple eye exercises. They may provide a long term solution, possibly without the need for glasses! Depending on your specific circumstances your doctor at Sacramento Contact Lenses may prescribe a series of eye exercises.

Importance of Computer Monitors

A computer monitor can be a big deal! Flat screens provide the best resolution and least amount of glare. The size of the screen that is most appropriate is based on working distance. Larger screens work best when viewed from further distances. You must consider the appropriate prescription in your computer glasses based on this working distance. One of the most important elements in eye comfort is the positioning of the monitor at the correct height. Our doctors and opticians will instruct you on the best choices in and proper positioning of computer screens.

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