Your Time

Avoid letting too much computer time compromise your vision

By Tessie Sanci |

As many financial advisors know, it's hard to get any work done if your eyes are irritated or you feel like dozing off due to eye strain. Long hours in front of a computer are often the culprit, as this often leads to chronic eye fatigue, says Dr. Angela Issa, an optometrist at Rockland Eye Clinic in Montreal.

Issa provides three ways to reduce that fatigue and maintain your eye health:

1. Minimize the computer's effect on your eyes

If your eyes feel tired, dry, strained or you're getting headaches, you may be experiencing "computer vision syndrome," according to the American Optometric Association.

One problem is that "we blink less often while looking at a computer screen," says Issa, "which results in dry eyes."

Short breaks from looking at your screen have a positive effect. For every 20 minutes you are on the computer, turn your eyes away for 20 seconds.

If you've been working for two hours, it's recommended you walk away from the computer.

Lighting is also an issue. If your light produces a glare on your screen, you will want to fix that as glare also results in increased fatigue.

You can adjust your screen so the light doesn't hit it directly or invest in screen filters that reduce glare.

2. Wear the right eyeglasses

If you've been lying to yourself about not needing glasses or you're wearing the wrong glasses, you're not doing your eyes any favours.

Instead, you're exerting more effort to see what is right in front of you, says Issa. This strain on your eyes is made worse when you are spending so much time on the computer.

In fact, our personal and professional computer use is so rampant that new technology for progressive lenses has been developed to support our eyes.

This digital technology provides a wider field of vision that is better suited for those who spend a lot of time working on a computer. Instead of moving your head constantly, you can stare straight ahead. This is better for your eyes and also provides less strain on your shoulders and neck.

3. Schedule regular eye check-ups

Your eyes are not necessarily healthy just because they feel fine. Many serious eye diseases, like glaucoma, have little to no symptoms at the beginning, says Issa.

"When [patients are] actually having symptoms is when the disease is quite advanced," she explains.

An optometrist can conduct tests to determine if your eyes are disease-free. If they are not, your doctor can determine early treatment that can make a big difference in terms of potential vision loss.