Optimizing Light Sources for Vision

Researchers at the Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona have discovered that optimizing light sources may assist the human brain in better interpreting visual information. This is good news for people who suffer from computer vision syndrome, as researchers have found that optimally tuning light emitting sources can relieve strain and increase visual comfort.

Flicker Rate

Light emitting devices such as computer  and television screens, light bulbs, and even candles, have a flicker rate. Researchers investigated the way the human eye perceived temporal modulations of light to uncover at which rate vision is most comfortable. As it turns out, the faster a flicker rate, the less the flicker itself is perceived by the eyes, making high flicker rates much more comfortable. This suggests that increasing the brightness of a screen, thus increasing flicker rate, can ease strain without increasing power consumption. A win-win for both your vision and your pocketbook.

Experiments were conducted into two contradictory theories of how bright a light appears: Bloch’s Law and the Broca-Sulzer Effect. While researchers have been studying temporal vision for over 125 years, this was the first experiment to control for all known forms of criteria. The initial findings are encouraging and will be elaborated on as more information becomes available.

Computer Vision Syndrome

Computer vision syndrome may cause symptoms such as:

  • Eye strain
  • Difficulties focusing
  • Blurry or double vision
  • Headaches
  • Neck and shoulder aches

Treating this syndrome is typically done with a combination of glare reduction screens, eye exercises, and prescription eye wear. With this new information from the Barrow Neurological Institute, your eye doctor may now also include adjusting the brightness on your computer, but this is best determined by an experienced ophthalmologist.

If you would like to schedule a computer vision exam to increase your visual comfort, please contact an eye doctor in your area today.

Preventing Eye Strain

Eye strain – technically referred to as “asthenopia” – is becoming increasingly common in recent years as we continue to rely on countless forms of screen-based technology. Eye strain can occur in one or both of your eyes, and it often leads to chronic headaches, blurred vision, dry or burning eyes, and sore neck muscles.

While eye strain usually goes away with sleep and rest, it is sometimes a symptom of a larger underlying problem, such as eye muscle imbalance or a refractive error. If you frequently suffer from eye strain, you should visit your eye doctor to be tested for additional problems.

The number one cause of eye strain today is computer vision syndrome (CVS), but eye strain is also often caused by:

  • Reading
  • Failure to blink
  • Visual tasks performed in dim lighting

The pain associated with eye strain can be significantly reduced if you take the time to perform eye exercises whenever you are sitting at a computer or performing visually intensive work. It is best to take frequent breaks from your computer throughout the day. Try to perform eye exercises every 20 minutes. Closing your eyes for a bit and blinking frequently can also help reduce your symptoms.  If your eye strain is caused by an underlying problem, your ophthalmologist may prescribe eye drops, glasses, or contacts to help you.

If you are suffering from symptoms of eye strain, contact an experienced ophthalmologist in your area today to schedule an initial consultation.

Lenses Relieving Computer Vision Syndrome

Many of us spend most of our day staring at computer screens, smartphones and tablets. Staring at these devices for more than two hours a day puts you at risk for eyestrain, headaches, dry eyes and general exhaustion.

According to a recent New York Times article, computer vision syndrome (CVS) is different from other kinds of eyestrain because of how we view electronic devices. When you look at a computer screen, not only must your eyes stay focused, they must converge inward for extended periods of time.

To treat computer vision syndrome, you should have your eyes examined to rule out other causes. You may need to have your prescription updated as well. If symptoms persist, computer glasses may be suggested by your eye doctor.

Computer glasses:

  • Have special coatings to reduce glare.
  • Are tinted to reduce eye strain.
  • Are designed to provide clear vision at intermediate distances.

You can prevent CVS symptoms by increasing the size of font on your mobile device, and by using the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This exercise lets you relax your eyes from focusing and converging strain.

To learn more about computer vision syndrome, please find an eye doctor in your area.

Eye Strain: A Growing Trend

Every day, we rely on screen-based technology – such as cell phones, computers, GPS devices, and more – to accomplish basic tasks and keep us connected. Unfortunately, the constant use of technology has put an immense amount of strain on our eyes, especially those of us who work desk jobs that require us to stare at a computer screen for several consecutive hours.

Eye strain that results from computer use is termed computer vision syndrome. However, eye strain can also be caused by other repeated activities, such as performing tasks in dim lightning, focusing on written words for too long, or failing to blink often enough. A good way of preventing eye strain when using a computer or performing visually intensive work is to perform eye exercises.

Some symptoms of eye strain include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Headaches
  • Dry or burning eyes
  • Sore back and neck muscles
  • Soreness around the eyes

Eye strain can affect more than just your vision; it also leads to a general feeling of exhaustion, enhancing irritability and making it difficult for you to concentrate. If regular eye exercises are not effectively reducing your symptoms, consider having an eye exam performed by an experienced ophthalmologist to detect other potential causes, such as refractive error. Glasses, contacts, or eye drops may be an effective way of treating the underlying problem.

If you believe you may be suffering from excessive eye strain, contact an experienced eye doctor in your area today to schedule a consultation.

Electronic Eye Strain Fixes

It may be a sad fact that nearly every single working adult who sits in a cubicle all day is staring at a computer screen. Then there are the iPads, Kindles, smart phones, television, gaming systems, and more that people look at while they’re at home. The result is the ubiquitous question of how to avoid eye strain due to electronic devices. And this is a complaint that is on the rise across the nation.

According to many ophthalmologists, the answers to solving the problem are fairly easy: start blinking. The reason for this is eye strain invariably begins with dry eyes. When you stare at the computer screen, your rate of blinking goes down. An ophthalmologist in private practice at Porter Adventist Hospital in Denver has likened this to a dirty windshield. When you blink, it’s like turning on the wipers.

Another thing people can do to avoid eye strain is to increase the size of the text on the computer. “Bigger is always better,” says the eye doctor at Porter.

One thing many eye doctors will say is that “eyestrain” is a nonmedical term and can mean whatever you want it to. As a result, telling your eye doctor about strain doesn’t really help.  They will tell you that all these electronic devices we’ve surrounded ourselves with are not necessarily hurting us. It’s how we react to them.

More advice from the doctors includes using eye drops, taking breaks to get away from the screen, and adjusting the length of time you use these devices to avoid feeling fatigued. One thing some hardcore gamers have discovered, and others are adopting, is the use of yellow tinted glasses. This reportedly cuts down on glare and fatigue.

If you have questions about eye strain, please contact eyes.com to find an experienced eye doctor in your area today.

Do You Suffer from Computer Vision Syndrome?

If you spend the majority of your work day sitting at a computer, you may be doing considerable damage to your eyes. The American Optometric Association estimates that more than 70% of the 143 million Americans working at computers suffer from a condition called computer vision syndrome.

Viewing characters on a computer screen is much different than viewing them on a printed page. The contrast between these characters is much less stark on a computer screen, placing a significant strain on your eyes as they read the text on your monitor. The fatigue and eye strain caused by viewing computer text will eventually damage your eyes if it continues for a prolonged period of time.

All it takes is about 2 hours a day in front of a computer screen to be at risk of developing computer vision syndrome. Many Americans spend between 8-10 hours a day in front of computers. Clearly, this is a serious risk that must be addressed if you work on a computer all day.

Common symptoms of computer vision syndrome include:

  • Headaches
  • Loss of focus
  • Burning eyes
  • Tired eyes
  • Double vision
  • Blurry vision
  • Neck and shoulder pain

You can take several steps to reduce the strain on your eyes while sitting at a computer:

  • Use lower intensity lighting
  • Ask your employer to provide you with an anti-glare screen on your computer
  • Use an LCD screen instead of a tube-style monitor
  • Adjust the monitor settings to make the contrast between the background and foreground characters as high as possible
  • Blink regularly
  • Every 20 minutes, take a break from your screen, looking away and staring at a distant object for a minimum of 20 seconds

It is also a good idea to visit your ophthalmologist once a year for an eye exam to make sure that your prolonged computer use has not affected your vision.

Exercising the Eye Muscles

The eyes have various muscles with different functions. Tiny muscles around the iris change the size of your pupils when the light intensity changes. These muscles are not under our conscious control. Other tiny muscles around the lens change its curvature, making it steeper for close vision and flatter for far vision. When we consciously focus near or far, the lens muscles take care of the mechanism of focusing without our conscious input.

Larger muscles that are under our conscious control shift the eyes from side to side or up and down. These and the lens muscles can be deliberately exercised.

Our eyes are designed for distance vision, as in prehistoric hunting. Now, many of us hunt for information on the internet or files in the database, keeping our focus at the same arm’s length distance day after day. This can cause chronic eyestrain, especially if your computer setup is not ergonomically sound. It even has a name: Computer Vision Syndrome.

Do you follow the 20-20-20 rule?

It will help against eyestrain. Look away from your monitor every 20 minutes at something about 20 feet away (or more) for about 20 seconds. That helps the eye muscles relax instead of being stuck in the same position and becoming tired. Imagine spending your days with one arm stretched out to the side. Wouldn’t it ache for a bit of movement pretty soon and want a rest? We do tend to take our eyes for granted.

1.  Near-Far Focus

Focus on something about six inches in front of your nose – hold your hand there or a pen. Breathe in deeply, exhale slowly, and focus on something about ten feet away – a picture on the wall or a chair. Again breathe in deeply, exhale, and focus back on the hand or pen. Time your changes of focus to your natural breathing speed. Fifteen focus changes is a good number.

2.  Eye Rolls

Roll your eyes in a slow circle to the left ten times. Then roll them slowly to the right. Don’t strain to make it a big circle, just keep your eyes comfortable and moving.

3.  Scan the Horizon

Some time when you are outside, get comfortable and look at the farthest object you can see. With your eyes relaxed, note its details. Look at moving objects also and at anything else far away. You can do this for any length of time – all day if your boss doesn’t mind.

4.  Track the Traffic

Stand safely back somewhere on a busy two-way road. Choose a vehicle down the road a ways and follow it with your eyes as it approaches, passes, and disappears. Move your head as necessary to keep your focus. Then choose a vehicle coming the opposite way and do the same. You could do this with people instead of vehicles. Don’t squint or peer – just keep your eyes relaxed as if you were a plain-clothes detective staying inconspicuous.

5.  Keep Your Eye on the Ball

Suspend a ball from the ceiling at your head height – a ping-pong or tennis ball works well. Swing it into a back-and-forth or circular motion and watch it while you sit or stand comfortably about five feet away. When it stops, swing it again. This one is good for myopia if you sit about an arm’s length from the ball.

Muscles are made to move, so any extended stillness is negative – sitting down all day should be varied too, so walking out to the street to Scan the Horizon or Track the Traffic is good for more than just your eyes.

If you would like to consult a qualified eye doctor about improving your vision, please use our Find an Eye Doctor page or the Ask a Doctor feature to the right of this text.