Computer Eye Strain & Meibomian Gland Dysfunction

Computer Eye Strain; What Is It?

Computer eye strain is caused when you overuse your eyes and they become fatigued. Eye strain can occur when looking at a computer screen, or other device, for too long. Normally resting your eyes can help relieve the symptoms of computer eye strain. Symptoms of computer eye strain can include; headaches, difficulty focusing, dry eyes, watery eyes, eye discomfort, blurred vision, itchy eyes, and tired eyes.

Computer Eye Strain; How Does It Cause Meibomian Gland Dysfunction?

The meibomian glands are the tiny glands on the lower and upper eyelid margins that secrete oil, which when we blink, protection the surface of the eye. This oil helps keep the water element of your tears from drying out too quickly. Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) is a very common type of dry eye disease where the meibomian glands do not secrete enough oil or the quality of the oil is not good. Normally in MGD the glands get blocked and very little oil, if any, can get out and this causes the eye symptoms. Computer eye strain can cause MGD due to a reduction in blinking. Most people when using a computer or similar device do not blink as often as they should, this can be up to 60% less blinking than when not looking at a computer. If your blink rate is reduced, the oils will not be secreted as often which means the watery element in your tears evaporates quicker, drying out your eyes. Overtime this can cause the glands to block leading to meibomian gland dysfunction.

Treatment for Meibomian Gland Dysfunction

There are many different types of treatment that can help MGD sufferers and what suits one person may not suit another. If MGD has been linked to computer eye strain, then looking at the way you use a computer is a good place to start. Trying to reduce the time in front of a computer can be difficult, especially if you use a computer for work, but remembering to blink and keeping hydrated will help. Also try to follow the 20-20-20 rule; every 20 minutes’ look 20 feet away from your screen for 20 seconds. MGD sufferers will likely need to combine this with other ‘at home’ treatments, such as heated eye masks, eye lid massaging, artificial tear drops, taking omega 3 supplements, and possibly taking other medication. There are other treatments that can be offered with an ophthalmologist or eye clinic that have great results in helping with MGD when used in conjunction with the ‘at home’ treatments;

· E-Eye Intense Regulated Pulsed Light (IRPL) – The E-Eye device creates polychromatic pulsed light using the new IRPL (intense regulated pulsed light) technology. The E-Eye releases a flash of light that is made up of a pulse train, which is flashed on the treatment area (cheekbone and temple area around the eye). Within this treatment area nerve branches are located and these nerve branches are connected to meibomian gland nerves. When these nerve branches are flashed with the E-Eye (IRPL) it causes a stimulatory response within the meibomian glands and they start to resume secretion of the normal oil layer again and symptoms of eye dryness will disappear. Accordingly, it will be effective in 80% of patients affected by dry eye disease. From a single flash of IRPL it is possible to produce sub-flashes of varying intensities, this offers unparalleled therapeutic potentials, especially with the treatment of MGD, which is impossible with conventional IPL. The E-Eye emits a ‘cold light’ and it is non-invasive, totally painless, and entirely harmless to the eyeball.

Stay Awake At The Computer

Do you feel eyestrain or fatigued after only a few hours of working on the computer? Do you find that when you get up and move away from the computer for a short break you feel better, only to get sleepy again when you return back to the computer. This is common among computer users daily, especially the bifocal age computer users over 50. When your eyes get tired, so goes your body and mind. Learn how to re-energize your eyes so your body and mind stay alert.

Working at a desk top computer over fifty years of age with your general purpose prescription eyeglasses can be challenging on your eyes. The eye’s focusing ability is under a strain to keep the content on the screen clear. Just because you can see the computer screen clearly through the distant portion of your glasses doesn’t mean you are not taxing the eye’s focusing ability to maintain a sharp focus. Also, lifting your chin up to see through the mid portion of your progressive style lenses will have consequences on your neck and back due to poor ergonomics. The reason you are using a bifocal is to see at close reading distance clearly for extended periods of time.

Desk top computer use is usually more demanding beginning in the late forties or early fifties. Viewing through the distance portion of your eyeglasses to see just beyond the reading range to the computer screen puts a strain on your eyes by overworking the eye’s accommodative/focusing ability. The amount of lens power necessary to relieve the eyes from the stress is about half the amount of power necessary for you to read with.

A dedicated pair of computer glasses will always work wonders, or if you want to save money a clip-on computer reading lens with the correct power magnification will solve the problem. This additional mid-range power will change the upper distant portion of the glasses to arm’s length computer distance. The clip-on user can see the computer screen without lifting their chin up and having to reposition themselves closer to the screen. This will immediately ease eyestrain and back pain associated with poor visual and physical posturing.

The difference between using some magnification for the computer distance while in your late forties and older, versus not is demonstrated with this simplified example. Given a choice, would you rather walk two miles to work or ride a bike the two miles? You’ll get there either way, but you will spend a lot less energy using the bicycle. This is the reasoning and science behind using a dedicated pair of computer glasses or using a computer clipon lens.

Your bifocal add power allows your eyes to focus on reading with less accommodative (eye muscle and lens focusing ability) effort and greater comfort for long periods of time more efficiently. A dedicated pair of computer glasses or a computer clip-on will do the same thing for desk top viewing. Otherwise, looking at a PC monitor through the distant portion of your bifocal or progressive lenses is like walking versus riding the bicycle to work example; you my be able to do it but you eyes will get tired sooner. It has always been my belief that when your eyes get tired, so does your body. You now have a choice to beat sleepiness while working at the computer, and re-energize your eyes with better vision and with less physical stress on your posture.

So You Need a New Computer?

There comes a time in everyone’s life when they realize that they really do need to bite the bullet and buy a new computer. It may be a scary prospect as there are a dizzying array of things on the market all the time, but keeping in mind what you actually want and what your budget is can really help you find the best machine for your needs.

The first thing you will have to decide is do you want a laptop or a desktop computer? If you want to be comfortable in your work space and have a dedicated work space already you may want a desktop. Sure they take up more room than a laptop and they’re not at all portable but they usually give you more performance for the money and they are cheaper to repair should anything go awry. You will get a larger screen with a desktop, better speakers and an all around better product should you want to sit in the same place day in and day out to do your computing.

A laptop of course is more practical for when you need to take your computer with you. It can be set up anywhere and all you have to do is periodically recharge it. On the downside, you may find yourself computing on the floor or the couch which may give you a back or neck strain. Laptops usually have smaller screens and less performance for the same price as a desktop.

Once you have chosen between stationary or portable you will have to understand the processor and RAM that each computer will come with. For this to matter you really need to know what you will be doing with your new computer. Do you want to do high end gaming or is it mostly for writing articles and checking social media accounts? The higher the numbers for the processor and RAM the more power and storage your computer will have.

For the fun stuff computers, especially laptops now come in a variety of colours so you can rock a bright red or purple machine or just stick to basic black. However you cut it, looking for a new computer can be time consuming so do some homework before you set out to the store and keep your budget in mind at all times.