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Midwest Eye Associates | Local Eye Exams in Charles, MO
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8 Ways to Protect Your Eyes at the Office

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Everyone seems to be staring at a screen these days, whether their computer, their smartphone or another digital device. The stress it puts on your eyes can cause a condition called "digital eye strain" (DES) or "computer vision syndrome" (CVS). Symptoms include eye fatigue, dry eyes, blurred vision, headaches, neck and shoulder pain, red eyes, and eye twitching.

How To Protect Your Eyes While You Work

Below are a few things you can do to lower your risk or mitigate any discomfort associated with DES. 

1. See your eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam

This is one of the most important things you can do to prevent or treat symptoms associated with computer vision syndrome. During your eye doctor’s appointment, make sure to speak with Dr. Byergo about your working habits, including the frequency and length of time you use a computer and other devices at work and at home.

If you get a chance before you come, measure the distance between your eyes and your computer screen and bring that information to the optometrist, so that you can get your eyes tested for that specific working distance.

Computer vision syndrome may be exacerbated by an underlying dry eye disease, which can be diagnosed and treated at our eye clinic in St. Charles.

Sometimes people who have good visual acuity assume they don’t need any glasses. However, even very mild prescriptions can improve eyestrain and curb fatigue when working at a computer. 

2. Good lighting is key 

Excessively bright light, whether due to outdoor sunshine coming in through the window or harsh interior lighting, is a common cause of eyestrain. When using your computer, your ambient lighting should be about 50% dimmer than what is typically found in most offices. 

You can reduce exterior light by closing drapes, blinds or shades and diminish interior illumination by using fewer or lower intensity bulbs. Computer users often find that turning off overhead fluorescent lights and replacing them with floor lamps is easier on their eyes. 

3. Minimize glare

Eyestrain can be aggravated by glare from light reflecting off surfaces including your computer screen. Position your computer so that windows are neither directly in front of nor behind the monitor, but rather to the side of it. Consider installing an anti-glare screen on your display. If you wear glasses, get anti-reflective (AR) coating on your lenses to reduce glare by limiting the amount of light that reflects off the front and back surfaces of your lenses (more on that below.)

4. Upgrade your display 

If you have a CRT (cathode) screen on your monitor, consider replacing it with a flat-panel LED (light-emitting diode) screen that includes an anti-reflective surface. Old-school CRT screens can be a major cause of computer eye strain due to the flickering images. 

For your new flat panel desktop display, choose one with a diagonal screen size of at least 19 inches, and the higher the resolution, the better.

5. Adjust display settings for added comfort 

Adjusting your computer display settings can help decrease eye strain and fatigue too.

  • Brightness: Adjust your device’s brightness to match the luminance around you. If the white background of this page looks like a light source, then it should be dimmed. However, if it appears dull and gray, it may not provide enough contrast, which can make it hard to read.
  • Text size: Adjust the text size for maximum eye comfort, particularly when reading, editing or writing long documents. Increase the size if you find yourself squinting, but bigger isn’t always better, since overly large text display may force your eyes to track back and forth too quickly for comfort.
  • Color temperature: This refers to the spectrum of visible light emitted by a color display. Blue light is short-wavelength visible light, whereas orange and red are longer wavelength hues. Exposure to blue light helps keep you alert but tends to cause eye fatigue after a while; yellow to red tints are more relaxing and may be better for long-term viewing, especially at night. Many devices allow the user to adjust the color temperature.

6. Get computer glasses

Nearly 70% of North Americans experience digital eye strain related to prolonged use of electronic devices. To combat these effects, Midwest Eye Associates recommends digital protection coatings, which act as a shield to cut the glare and filter the blue light emanating from digital screens and artificial light.

For the greatest eye comfort, ask Dr. Byergo for customized computer glasses, which feature mildly tinted lenses that filter out blue light. These can be made with or without prescription vision correction, for the benefit of those with 20/20 vision or contact lens wearers, though many people with contacts actually prefer to have alternative eyewear to use when their lenses become dry and uncomfortable from extended screen time.

Midwest Eye Associates can help you choose from a vast array of effective optical lenses and lens coatings to relieve the effects of digital eye strain. 

7. Don't forget to blink 

When staring at a digital device people tend to blink up to 66% less often, and often the blinks performed during computer work are only partial which aren’t as effective at keeping the eyes moist and fresh feeling. Making a conscious effort to blink more while working or watching can prevent dryness and irritation.

8. Exercise your eyes

Another cause of computer eye strain is focusing fatigue. Look away from your computer every 20 minutes and gaze at an object located 20 feet away, for a minimum of 20 seconds. This "20-20-20 rule" is a classic exercise to relax the eyes’ focusing muscles and reduce computer vision syndrome.

 

The steps above don’t require a tremendous amount of time or money to be effective. Contact Midwest Eye Associates in St. Charles to make an appointment with Dr. Byergo and learn how the right eye drops, eye exercises, computer glasses, or AR coatings can improve eye comfort, reduce computer vision syndrome and potentially lead to increased productivity and job satisfaction.

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COVID-19 Update

We want to update you on our plan of action related to the COVID-19 virus outbreak. Based on the recommendation from the CDC, we are suspending all routine eye care until they advise otherwise. However, we will be available for urgent and emergent care as needed (ie, eye infections, injuries or sudden onset vision loss or change).

All patients with scheduled visits will be contacted by our staff to reschedule. In order to help the schedule management run smoothly, we ask that you wait to be contacted by our team for rescheduling. We don’t know how long this suspension will last, as the current state of COVID-19 is evolving daily.

For those affected by this schedule suspension, if you are without glasses or contacts, we will work with you individually to keep you supplied with prescriptions. If you need pharmacy prescriptions refilled, please let us know as well.

**Further, for our contact lens patients, we recommend you consider discontinuing contact lens wear if you exhibit flu-like or respiratory illness symptoms, as the eye surface and tears can be a source of exposure and spread to others.**

In addition, we will be available for glasses and contact lens pick up by appointment. Please call the office when you arrive, and a staff member will deliver your purchase directly to your vehicle. On a limited basis, we will provide glasses repairs and adjustments.

We ask that all patients who exhibit flu-like or respiratory illness symptoms, or have had a fever in the last two weeks to refrain from visiting the office until you are symptom-free for two weeks. If you have traveled internationally or to CA, WA or NY in the last 30 days again we ask that you refrain from visiting the office for two weeks.

If an in-person visit proves necessary, we ask that only the patient come into the office unless personal assistance is required. All guests will be asked to remain in your vehicle. One parent or guardian may accompany a minor patient.

In the midst of this uncertainty, we ask for your understanding of these limitations as the health and well being of our team, patients and community is of the utmost importance.

Be well and stay healthy.