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Can Working on a Computer Affect My Glaucoma?

No strong evidence suggests excessive use of digital technology is a glaucoma risk factor. However, prolonged computer, tablet, cell phone, and other digital device use can lead to eye strain.

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Black woman experiencing digital eye strain from working on her computer, taking a break from the screen
Black woman experiencing digital eye strain from working on her computer, taking a break from the screen

Can Working on a Computer Affect My Glaucoma?

No strong evidence suggests excessive use of digital technology is a glaucoma risk factor. However, prolonged computer, tablet, cell phone, and other digital device use can lead to eye strain.

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to function without computers and other digital technology. However, is the excessive use of digital technology directly linked to glaucoma? Continue reading to learn how excessive use of digital devices can affect your vision.

No strong evidence suggests excessive use of digital technology is a glaucoma risk factor. However, prolonged computer, tablet, cell phone, and other digital device use can lead to a group of eye and vision-related problems known as computer vision syndrome or digital eye strain.

What Is Digital Eye Strain?

Digital eye strain, also called computer vision syndrome (CVS), affects an estimated 70% of adults, especially those between 18 and 34. It’s a result of extended hours focusing on a computer screen and may be worsened by hours of exposure to blue light, high-energy visible light emitted by digital screens.

Blue light can cause short-term eye strain and discomfort. Scientists are researching whether it could also be linked to severe eye conditions, such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts.

Staring at a screen causes people to blink up to 66% less often. Blinking is essential as it hydrates your eyes and stimulates the release of oil from the tiny glands in your eyelids. Dry eyes can cause blurry vision, which exacerbates eye strain.

Recommended Steps To Help Glaucoma Patients Limit the Risk of Eye Strain

The primary concern regarding computer use for glaucoma patients is the potential for glare and its effect on the patient. Fortunately, there are ways to decrease eye strain from working on computers.

Reduce Glare

Because glaucoma damages the optic nerve and retina, less light is transmitted to the brain; therefore, the images produced are darker and lack contrast. Therefore, patients with glaucoma should optimize lighting conditions. It’s also imperative to ensure that you adjust your display settings accordingly. For example, you may find that applying black text on a white background will help improve readability.

Avoid glare using a monitor filter, or choose a display with an anti-glare matte screen. Also, ensure that your monitor doesn’t face a window. The light from a window interferes with the monitor, especially if you have contrast problems. Older CRT computer monitors can be more stressful than flat-screen displays.

Office lighting can also create and exacerbate problems with glare. Fluorescent lighting produces the most glare, while incandescent bulbs create less glare. A pharmacy light aimed over the non-dominant hand can help. Altering the color of carpets, desks, or walls can make a difference. Tinted lenses can be used to lessen the effects of some of these problems.

Take Breaks

Taking breaks from staring at digital displays — computers, tablets, mobile phones — is vitally important. You can take breaks simply by focusing on something 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes. Apps with built-in functions that stop you from continuing work until you have taken a break are also available. In addition, taking breaks helps your eyes relax after time spent on computers or other digital devices.

Pay Attention to Lighting 

Reading on a computer, tablet, or phone in poor lighting conditions and at night can suppress the production of melatonin, which helps control your sleep cycle. Therefore, avoiding reading on a phone or tablet at night is essential, as disrupting your melatonin levels can make your body think it’s daytime when it’s not.

Blink

Humans normally blink about 15 times per minute. However, studies show that we only blink about five to seven times a minute while using computers and other digital screen devices. Blinking is the eye’s way of getting the moisture it needs on its surface. Making a conscious effort to blink as often as possible keeps the surface of your eyes from drying out. You might even want to put a sticky note on your computer screen reminding you to blink often!

Use Computer Eyeglasses

If you work on a computer for many hours, you might find that using computer eyeglasses reduces eye strain. These prescription glasses allow you to focus your eyes at a computer screen distance (intermediate distance, about 20-26 inches away from your face). However, be aware that computer glasses for reducing eye strain are not the same as “blue light blocking” glasses.

Have Regular Eye Exams

Regular eye exams help you keep your eye health in check and ensure your problems aren’t worse than normal eye strain. If you spend prolonged periods in front of the screen, it’s important to talk to your eye doctor about whether you would benefit from lubricating eye drops or a pair of computer glasses. 

Help Us Find a Cure

While there’s no cure for glaucoma, having regular comprehensive eye examinations to monitor your IOP is one of the ways glaucoma patients can manage their glaucoma. Advancements in glaucoma research continue to bring us closer to finding a cure and restoring vision loss from glaucoma. You can help find a cure with cash, stock, or a vehicle donation. Your support will give hope to those living with glaucoma and accelerate our search for a cure and vision restoration.

 

Posted on August 2, 2022

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