Gadget Pain: strained eyes!

Dr. Rob Melendez estimates that he has seen a 10 to 15 percent increase in the past three years among people who have eye problems related to their use of personal electronic devices. Chief among the complaints is “dry eye,” with symptoms that include a feeling of tired or heavy eyes, a burning or stinging sensation, and blurred vision, particularly in contact lens wearers.

Dr. Melendez attributes prolonged and close-up work on computer screens  to dry eye.  People tend not to blink as much, which is necessary to coat the eyes with a fresh coat of tears.

Also resulting from staring too long into various screens is an imbalance in the eye muscles, a condition called convergence sufficiency.

Normally, both eyes converge or come together to focus on one object, such as when you’re reading or playing a game. When eyes are strained, one of them can drift out, so the brain sees two different images and this can cause a headache or make someone feel tired.

Dr. Melendez suggests limiting time spent working at a computer or other close-up electronic device, using an anti-glare screen where practical, adjusting the brightness and contrast of monitors, increasing the font size of text and using lubricating eye drops when needed.