Monthly Archives: October 2013

Computer Vision Syndrome: How Computers Affect Your Vision

In 2013 it is not unusual for people in the US to have at least one computer in their homes, but increasingly people, including children, have access to multiple digital devices, such as iPads, smartphones, and hand-held games. People spend many cumulative hours on these various devices for work or school, squinting down at cell phones to read text messages and emails or playing games.  A 2012 study by The Vision Council revealed over 30% of US adults reported using digital media or other electronic devices for 4-6 hours a day, with 14% approximately their use at 10-12 hours a day. All of this takes a toll on our eyes and vision.

We do not stop to think about what it takes for us to see the world around us. Every time we change where we look, our eyes move up, down, back, and forth. They have to refocus to create a clear image. A lot of little movements and adjustments must be made. Think about what you do at your desk. You look at the computer screen, then down at the papers on your desk, then back again. You do this for hours at a screen that is bright, flickers, and has a glare. Our eyes do a lot of work, and computers are compromising the quality of our vision.

Computer Vision Syndrome

What is it?

Computer vision syndrome (CVS), or digital eye strain, encompasses a group of eye and vision-related problems due to extended computer use. Symptoms manifest themselves as

  • Dry eyes,
  • Eye strain,
  • Blurred vision,
  • Headaches, and
  • Neck and shoulder pain

These symptoms are interrelated. As we squint to see more clearly, headaches can occur because we have strained our eyes. If we have to tilt our heads for a better viewing angle, we experience neck and shoulder pains that in turn can contribute to headaches.

What are the causes?

Much of computer vision syndrome is caused by the digital devices themselves as they pose high visual demands. Digital images and text are made up of tiny dots called pixels, and eyes must work hard in order to interpret all the colored dots and spaces between them. Other symptom sources from computers or workstations are

  • glare from screens,
  • bad lighting,
  • improper viewing distances, and
  • poor seating posture.

Sometimes computer vision syndrome symptoms can occur or be aggravated due to uncorrected vision issues – like nearsightedness, astigmatism, or changes due to aging known as presbyopia. Some people who already wear glasses or contacts for vision problems may still experience CVS discomfort if their prescriptions are not suitable for computer viewing.

CVS is a result of a combination of some or all of these issues. The effects of digital eye strain cause discomfort that increases throughout the day from prolonged use but are generally temporary, going away once computer use is discontinued. While the long-term effects are not yet known, some people continue to have reduced visual abilities or experience discomfort even after no longer working at a computer. In the case of uncorrected vision problems, reduced visual abilities may become a bigger problem.

Tips to Prevent Eye Strain

Taking care of your vision and preventing eye strain starts with good computer habits. Making a few adjustments to a computer work station can make all the difference. Ergonomic chairs, desks, keyboards, and computer stands that will put you at the proper height encourage proper posture, thereby eliminating the need to tilt your head, etc. You can also

  • Reduce glare by adjusting screen brightness or adding a protective screen over the monitor,
  • Change the background color of the display,
  • Keep the screen clean,
  • Dim the lighting around your PC,
  • Don’t sit too closely,
  • Position the screen slightly below eye level, and don’t tilt it, and
  • Increase the text size

Seeking Help and Vision Treatment in Minneapolis

Regular vision checks are important in order to monitor your eye health and to address any changes in your vision. So if you have done all you can to try to see your screen better but still have trouble, it is time to consider seeing an optometrist or ophthalmologist.

Glasses are a great, quick, and relatively inexpensive option and can be made to reduce the effects of computer glare. But if you already had glasses yet still find yourself having to squint or tilt your head in order to properly see your computer screen, you may need a second pair of glasses better suited for computer work. However, if you find you would like a more permanent solution to your vision problems, Dr. Carlson and his staff at Claris Eye Care & Surgery can discuss laser vision correction options with you and determine if you are good candidate for PRK, LASIK, or LASEK. Claris is fully equipped with the tools and an expert team to examine your eyes and diagnose any problems. Claris’s Dr. Keith Carlson, one of the region’s most experienced ophthalmologists, has been helping people from the Minneapolis area see better for nearly 20 years and specializes in laser eye surgery. In contacting Claris, you are on the way to relieving the pain of digital eye strain.

Minneapolis, Your Eye Care Experience Just Got Better

This is a fast-paced world, and time is very important to us. Every minute counts, so we try to be as efficient as possible. However, in the rush to try to get everything done, we sometimes forget to take a moment or two to take care of ourselves. But with such busy schedules, it can be difficult to remember to make an appointment to see a doctor or to refill a prescription. At Claris Eye Care & Surgery in Minneapolis, eye care is taken seriously, and now they are making it easier for you to make your eye health a priority, too.laser eye surgery minneapolis

Doctor visits can take a lot of time – from the phone call to schedule an appointment, to filling out forms upon arrival, then waiting in an exam room for a nurse or doctor to finally come. The result is that we might end up putting off our next visit because we feel it is all too much of a hassle. This is one of the reasons Dr. Keith Carlson established Claris Eye Care & Surgery in 2009 with the aim of being centered on patients while also providing them with the best vision care. In order to put patient care first, Claris committed to reducing wait times, using electronic medical records to streamline operations and provide greater transparency, and communicating with their patients in a timely manner.

In a world where we can access banking and credit card accounts, pay bills, shop, and – heck – even order pizza online, why shouldn’t the same be true of our medical experience? While electronic medical records and online patient access aren’t new to Claris, your Claris experience has just gotten better. How so? As part of the Claris commitment to patient care, the team strives to improve the process whenever and wherever possible. Therefore, starting March 2014 a new patient portal – Intelichart – will replace the current system adding value to you as the patient and to Claris as your eye care provider. How will InteliChart help you?

With InteliChart, you will be able to go online to schedule your own appointments whenever you happen to have a minute to spare – even if that happens to be at midnight. You will also be able to easily and securely access your medical profile, receive and pay bills, see past records, and communicate with Dr. Carlson and the Claris team. InteliChart will notify them of any changes you make to your profile or messages you send, so that they can respond to you quickly – and you no longer have to wait while on hold for answer. And to help you remember, email or text message reminders let you know about your Claris appointment. Ok – yes, some of this can be done with the current system, but InteliChart brings it all together and gives you – the patient – the power of information simply by logging on to your computer. InteliChart may also aid with overall increased efficiency at Claris. This means a lot of time saved for Claris and for you.

From Eye Exams to Laser Vision Correction

Your team at Claris won’t be wasting that extra time: they will be using it to better serve patients. Our fifth exam room is equipped and ready, and a new technician will be joining the Claris team this month. More patients can be seen at once, plus receive the benefits of shorter, faster visits – whether they are there for an annual eye exam, a laser vision correction consultation,  or a post-op checkup after PRK, LASIK, LASEK, cataract, or glaucoma surgery.

Eye care is something we should all take time to do. Find an extra minute to schedule an appointment today or contact Claris to discover how close you are to better vision and a clearer future. Of course, all this technology doesn’t mean one of Claris’s incredible staff members won’t be there to answer the phone whenever you need to talk to someone. Call 612.775.8009 today. Don’t waste any more time putting off your next appointment.