6 rules for working at a computer with dry eye disease

In today's digital age, the ubiquitous use of computers, smartphones, and other gadgets poses challenges to eye health. One common issue that arises is dry eye syndrome also known as dry eye disease, and in this article, we explore the deeper connection between this condition and prolonged use of digital devices.

Why does computer work affect dry eyes?

Typically, a person blinks about 15 times per minute. But when you look at the screen of a computer or smartphone, you blink 2 times less often - this leads to a lack of hydration of the cornea and, as a result, to dryness, irritation and eye fatigue.

The study proved that an 8-hour working day at the computer leads to a change in the composition of the tear film - it becomes significantly less mucin, which protects and moisturizes the cornea, and also promotes healing in case of its microtraumas. It occurs in over 60% of computer users.

There are other factors that exacerbate dry eye disease. For example, wearing contact lenses or dry air in the office due to air conditioning, lack of lighting, dustiness or lack of water in the body (mild dehydration).

How to reduce the symptoms of dry eye disease?

So, work on the computer affects the stability and quality of the tear film, which leads to the "dry eye" disease. What can be done about it?

  1. Comply with computer rules.
  2. Interrupt for eye exercises during the working day.
  3. Organize the workspace ergonomically in terms of eye comfort.
  4. Use artificial tears to moisturize your eyes.

1. Learn the 20-20-20 rule

This rule will reduce the severity of dry eye symptoms during prolonged work at the computer. It's pretty simple:

  • Take your eyes off the monitor every 20 minutes
  • Focus your eyes at a distance of 20 feet (approximately 6 meters)
  • Hold your eyes for 20 seconds

Also, during a break, you can do several exercises from gymnastics for the eyes: move your eyes clockwise and counterclockwise, close your eyes with your hands and sit in the dark,

2. Take short breaks while working at the computer

It is better to take several short breaks of 5-7 minutes than one long one. But being distracted from the computer monitor does not mean immersed in the phone. Walk around the office, pour a glass of water, drink it while looking out the window. By the way, drinking enough water means fighting dehydration, which affects the moisture in the eyes. But coffee and tea, on the contrary, contribute to rehydration, so it is better to reduce their consumption.

3. Customize your computer screen

  • The monitor should be placed at arm's length and just below eye level. When you look at the screen, your eyes should not be directed upwards or wide open.
  • Position the screen to avoid glare, or choose a screen with a matte finish.
  • Reduce the brightness of the screen - it should not be brighter than the lighting in the room.
  • Keep your monitor clean - Fingerprints, dust, and dried droplets on the screen can strain your eyes even more.

4. Sit properly

Ergonomic work chair will help maintain the correct posture. It should be adjustable in height and have a ledge on the back for lumbar support.

Try to avoid cross-legged poses, with both feet flat on the floor and knees bent at about 90 degrees.

5. Choose a vision correction method

Contact lenses can aggravate dry eyes. In this case, you can try to change the lenses to thinner and less moisture content. And also from time to time to put on glasses or think about laser vision correction.

6. Use an artificial tear

Special moisturizing eye drops help to quickly remove the unpleasant symptoms of dry eyes. Some of them (for example, Optinol ® Express Hydration ) can be used without removing contact lenses and as often as required.

How to use gadgets without damage to the eyes?

If you don’t let go of your phone or tablet after a working day spent in front of the monitor, then the following tips will help you keep your eyes healthy:

  • Try using voice typing or voice messaging when chatting with friends. So the eyes will look less at the screen and strain.
  • Install applications that restrict access to the smartphone at a certain time.
  • Try not to look at the screen while driving.
  • Try to find non-gadget entertainment/hobbies.
  • When using your smartphone in the dark, set the screen brightness to the minimum.

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