SENDING OUR KIDS TO ‘WORK’

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Research shows that computer eye problems are common. Somewhere between 50% and 90% of people who work at a computer screen have at least some symptoms of eye trouble. In addition, working adults are not the only ones vulnerable to this computer vision syndrome. Kids who stare at a portable video game or who use computers throughout the day at school also can experience eye problems related to computer use. This is especially true if the lighting or computer position are less than ideal.

Working at a computer requires that the eyes continuously focus, move back and forth, and align with what you are seeing. You may have to look down at papers and then back up to type, and the eyes have to accommodate to changing images on the screen in order to create a clear picture for the brain to interpret. Also consider that there would likely be strain on any part of the body engaged in such prolonged, repetitious activity – the eyes are no different.

All of these functions require a lot of effort from eye muscles. Working on a computer is more challenging to your eyes than reading a book or piece of paper, because a computer screen also adds the elements of screen contrast, flicker, and glare. Computer eye problems are more likely to occur if you already have an eye problem – such as nearsightedness or astigmatism– or if you need glasses but don’t wear them or wear the wrong prescription for computer use.

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CHANGING TIMES – CAN OUR EYES SURVIVE?

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About 83 percent of children between the ages of 10 and 17 report using an electronic device more than three hours daily (42 percent report five hours or more daily), while only about 40 percent (10 percent, respectively) of parents think their kids exceed that mark, according to the AOA’s 2014 American Eye-Q® survey and children’s omnibus survey.

The digital era means people of all ages are spending more time than ever on electronic devices, many with very small screens, and that is going to lead to issues. Eye conditions exacerbated by digital technology are a growing reality. The 21st century brings not only a monumental change in how people use their eyes, but also how people get their information.

ONE SIZE FITS ALL?

If you are considering the purchase of ready-made (“drugstore”) reading glasses, it is important to realize that they are essentially  “one-size-fits-all” items. Since the prescription is the same in both lenses (even if your actual prescription is not), and the location of the optical center not customized for your eyes, a “one-size-fits-all” approach may not be a good fit!  Most people do not have exactly the same prescription in both eyes, and almost everyone has at least a small amount of astigmatism correction in their prescriptions.

Headaches, eye strain, and even nausea can result from wearing reading glasses that are too far off from your actual prescription or that have optical centers too far away from the center of your pupils. If you experience these problems, or want glasses to fit your eyes and your needs specifically, a comprehensive eye examination with Dr. Landrio is important.

Also, don’t confuse reading glasses with computer eyewear. If you’re using reading glasses to try to view your computer screen, it’s probably not working very well. For one thing, reading printed matter is done at a closer range than reading text on a computer screen.

Also, if your reading glasses are the type that force you to lean your head back in order to view your monitor, you’re placing unnecessary strain on your neck muscles. Computer users really should invest in prescription computer glasses.