Dry eye disease can be the absolute worst. We often don’t think about how much we rely on our vision until itchy, burning eyes decide to ruin our day. Not only can they cause issues with eyesight that can make normal daily activities more difficult, they’re also extremely uncomfortable.
The skilled eye doctors at Nationwide Vision have seen our fair share of dry eye disease cases and know there are several culprits that can cause it. However, one that most people overlook is perhaps something that all of us our guilty of fairly frequently.
We’re talking about staring at a computer screen for long periods of time.
Luckily, this cause of dry eye is highly preventable. Read on to discover the tried-and-true methods recommended by Nationwide Vision’s eye care professionals to stop digital screen-related dry eye disease.
If there’s one thing the doctors at Nationwide Vision are familiar with, it’s dry eyes. Schedule an appointment with us to assess your eyes and come up with a personalized treatment plan.
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Before we get into how to prevent dry eye, it’s important to recognize its symptoms.
Our eyes like to be kept moist. Normal eyes keep the eyes lubricated and hydrated through the production of tears. Tear film on healthy eyes consists of water, mucus, and oil. The mucus and oil form a protect barrier that keeps the tears from evaporating. If your eyes start producing fewer tears, or the composition of your tears changes, that’s when you begin to experience the symptoms of dry eye disease. Symptoms include general irritation of the eye, including a burning or scratchy sensation.
Dry eye can also cause blurred vision and redness. Additionally, you can be experiencing dry eyes even if your eyes are watery or runny. Intense eye watering is your body’s way of trying to compensate for your lack of tears. If left untreated, dry eye disease can cause damage to the eyes and increase your risk of developing eye infections.
There are plenty of reasons you may stare at a screen for hours a day. With large parts of our lives increasingly moving online, whether you’re working from home, watching that TikTok video your friend sent you, or binging the latest episodes of your favorite show, you may find most of your waking life is devoted to screen time.
A normal person will blink once every four to 10 seconds. When you stare at digital devices, your blink rate slows as your eyes focus more on the material on the screen. Your eyes depend on a normal blinking rate to refresh the tear film. A slower blinking rate means your tears are refreshed less often and their composition begins to change. This is what leads to dry eye disease, as the quality of your tears declines, and your eyes are refreshed with new tears less frequently.
The more time you spend each day looking at screens, the worse your dry eye disease can become.
With how much we all stare at computer screens all day (we’re guilty of it too), it may seem like our future is doomed to be filled with itchy, watery eyes. Luckily, there are some simple tricks you can do at home to make sure your eyes stay healthy and hydrated.
The 20-20-20 rule sates that every 20 minutes, you should stare at something 20 feet away from you for 20 seconds. This gives your eyes time to readjust and prevents them from focusing so hard on your screen that they forget they need to blink!
The closer your screen is to your eyes, the more intensely they’ll focus on it. Devices should be at least 20 inches from your face at any given time. Keep digital screens at a distance to keep your blinking rate from slowing.
If you find that you just can’t live without your screen time, your eyes may find some relief in eye drops or artificial tears. There are many over-the-counter varieties you can use for immediate relief. Alternatively, you can schedule an appointment with the Arizona eye doctors at Nationwide Vision, and we may be able to prescribe something a little stronger for you.
Most screens emit blue light. This light can be harmful to much more than just your eye if you’re continually exposed to it. However, picking up a pair of blue-light-blocking computer glasses may be just what you need. These glasses filter out blue light and prevent glare, so your eyes don’t need to focus as hard on the screen.
You can pick up a pair of computer glasses at your nearest Nationwide Vision center! Browse our selection of eyewear and use the Virtual Try-On function to see how they look on you from the comfort of your home.
Think you may be suffering from dry eye disease? Make sure to book an appointment with your nearest Arizona dry eye specialist at Nationwide Vision. We’ll find the perfect treatment for your unique eyes.
Relief is just a call or click away at Nationwide Vision!