July 30, 2023
Children and adults now use computers for many hours each day. The American Optometric Association states that at least five hours of screen time is enough to cause dry eye syndrome. Using mobile phones and gadgets has the same effect. Understanding how computer use affects dry eye can motivate you to regulate your computer use and seek treatment. Here are the details.
Lack of Hydration
Daily activities almost always include the use of computers or mobile apps, especially since the pandemic. Doing things online can help speed up errands and payments as well. This gives you more time for work and personal life.
When you spend hours working on your computer, you tend to forget about hydrating. You tend to ignore your body’s signals, such as thirst. Energy drinks or sodas are not hydrating liquids. Studies show that the sugar and caffeine in them dehydrate you by making you urinate more.
Drinking water is important for the proper function of your organs. It is also necessary for producing sufficient tear film. If you forget about drinking water, your tear quality suffers. This leads to dry eye syndrome. Research reveals that drinking two to three liters of water a day is important for a healthy body and well-lubricated eyes.
Studies show that computer use decreases your blink rate. People tend to blink an average of 5 times a minute while working on their computers. They blink 10 to 12 times a minute while they do activities away from any digital screen. When this happens, the tear film does not spread enough across your eye surfaces. This deprives your eyes of proper lubrication and vision. A low blinking rate will increase irritation and dry your eyes.
Treating Dry Eyes and Blurry Vision
Clinical studies show that blurry vision is the first sign of dry eyes. This happens because there is inadequate tear film coating the eyes. The result is a rougher eye surface that disrupts eyesight clarity and comfort. Available treatments for mild to moderate dry eye syndrome are artificial tears, as well as lubricating ointments, drops, or gels. Persistent dry eyes will need the help of your eye doctor. In-office treatments at East Main Vision Clinic will target the underlying causes of your dry eyes.
Evaporative Dry Eye Disease and Computer Use
Dry eye syndrome can result from the quick evaporation of tears from your eyes. This is because of the insufficient layer of fat in your tears. This lipid layer holds the moisture in your tears, preventing it from evaporating right away. MGD (meibomian gland dysfunction) leads to low lipid production in tears. This results in evaporative dry eye disease.
Hours of computer use can affect the evaporation of your tears. Quick tear film evaporation makes your eyes feel dry. Your eyes start to experience irritation. Some also feel pain.
Understanding the link between computer use and dry eyes can help you care for your eyes while not compromising your screen time. At East Main Vision Clinic, we remind our patients to care for their eye health while using their digital devices. Feel free to contact our eye care office in Puyallup, Washington, for a dry eye consultation. Please call 253-780-0700 to speak with our team today.