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Computer Use Causes Dry Eye

Dry eye is a common condition for many people and the number of people suffering from dry eyes is continuing to rise.  One reason dry eyes are on the rise is the number of hours people spend on computers, iPads, cell phones, and other electronic devices.  There have been studies that show that the blink rate of people decreases by half when they look at electronic devices and computers compared to other visual activities.  When the blink rate decreases while staring at computer screens, it causes the tear film on the front of the eye to evaporate.  This can cause blurry vision, itchy eyes, tearing, and burning.  The long hours on electronic devices cause the fragile cells on the cornea to die off due to the evaporation of the tear film.  This can cause the burning and tearing that results.

Solutions to dry eyes resulting from computer use are:

  1. Taking visual breaks such as looking away every 20 minutes for 20 seconds every hour.
  2. Use an artificial tear that is non-preserved.  By using a non-preserved artificial tear, it prevents the preservatives that are in normal bottles of artificial tears from further irritating the cornea of the eyes.  Also, the artificial tear solution should be oil-based so that it stays in the eye longer.
  3. A “tear saver” can also be used to prevent the eye’s natural tears from draining out of the eye as quickly, which helps prevent the eye from drying out.  A tear saver is an easy, painless option for treating dry eyes.  These tear savers can also be called punctual plugs.
  4. There is also a prescription drop to help increase the amount of tears the eyes make.

Our doctors will take their time to evaluate our patients for any early signs of dry eyes and then recommend the appropriate solution based on each person’s eye health needs.