Counting Long Computer Use Damages to the Eye


Till reliable there was no evidence to suggest that even long-term intensive use of VDUs is damaging to the eyes, but a recent study by the Japanese scientists changed it all. According to them, hours in front of a computer screen may increase the risk of glaucoma in people who are myopic or shortsighted.


Aching, irritable eyes is a common complaint after maintaining a visual distance constant for much of the day in front of the computer, this means the muscles that control your focal lens have become fatigued. Further on,


  • Watching a computer screen for nine or more hours a day might be linked to a progressive eye disease that can blind without treatment

  • The risk of developing glaucoma this way is highest for those with short sight

  • Over 5% had visual field abnormalities appear to be a significantly linked with heavy computer use.

  • Short sightedness has already been linked with glaucoma, a disease in which fluid cannot flow out of the eye because meshwork in the coloured part, the iris, has become blocked.

  • Pressure build up in the eye, can damage to nerve fibres in the back of the eye and the optic nerve.

  • The optic nerve in myopic eyes is more susceptible to computer stress.

  • If the condition is ignored, or steps are not taken to reduce eye pressure, surgery might be needed to make an extra drainage channel in the white of the eye.


Prevention better than cure

To help eyestrain and prevent dry eye, adjust your computer monitor to reduce glare and reflection. An ergonomic evaluation of your workstation also may identify problems that could lead to eyestrain and fatigue. Screens and fonts are a lot kinder to eyes than they used to be, but by positioning your screen incorrectly and using unsuitable lighting you can still put your eyes under unnecessary strain. However, the problem is with your working practice rather than the VDU itself, so there is a lot you can do to protect yourself.


Exercise your eyes by alternating your focus between something close up and something far away. Look at something in the distance until it becomes clear. Then look back at a piece of paper. It will take a while for your focus to adjust each time, but carry on until you can refocus instantly. Then get back to work and repeat the exercise in an hourís time.


Physiotherapists also recommend rubbing your hands together and cupping them over your eyes every now and then to give them some symptomatic relief.


Prevent eyestrain at work station

Here are a few suggestions on how to make your workspace more comfortable:

  • Place your screen 20 to 26 inches away from your eyes and a little bit below eye level.

  • Use a document holder placed next to your computer screen. It should be close enough so you donít have to swing your head back and forth or constantly change your eye focus.

  • Change your lighting to lower glare and harsh reflections. Glare filters over your computer screen can also help.

  • Get a chair you can adjust.

  • Choose screens that can tilt and swivel. A keyboard that you can adjust is also helpful

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