Rachelle KhalafDirector, Public Relations and Communications
Houston (February 7, 2002) - While technology has made our lives easier in many ways, it has also caused unintended health problems. One example is the dramatic increase in the use of personal computers. This has caused the incidence of eye strain and other visual-related problems to increase as well. Computer users may experience many different symptoms, including tired or burning eyes, transient blurring, and even neck pain.
Reasons for Eye Strain
According to Leticia Albin, O.D., an optometrist at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic’s Main Campus, identifying the reasons for these problems may help ease the symptoms. “Studies have shown that people who spend extended periods of time on the computer do not blink as frequently while on the computer,” explains Dr. Albin. “Just the simple act of blinking more often can help relieve some of the burning or dry eye symptoms that computer users feel. Also, every 20 minutes or so, look away from the screen and focus your eyes on something farther away, such as down the hall or out the window,” advises Dr. Albin. “This may help not only with the blurring problem, but can also extend your comfort time on the computer.”
The positioning of the computer is also important. For example, bifocal users unconsciously tilt their heads back to see the screen more clearly, and thus often have neck and upper back pain. Dr. Albin advises, “Make sure the screen is set at your line of sight or lower, especially if you wear bifocals. Also, the screen might be a problem if it is set too close to your eyes. The closer your screen is, the harder your eyes have to work. Try to keep the screen at about arm’s length, and increase your font size while you are working, if possible.”
Other kinds of visual correction may be appropriate for people who work on the computer for many hours at a time. “Reading glasses help tremendously, especially if you are far-sighted or over 40 years of age,” says Dr. Albin. “If you are already wearing bifocals, you can have a special set of prescription glasses made for use while on the computer. The top part of the lens is set for the computer range, and the bottom of the lens (or bifocal) is set for near or reading. This gives you the ability to look at the computer, and down at your desk or papers, and see both clearly,” explains Dr. Albin. “We have found this to be quite effective for people who spend several hours at a time on a computer. And, since you need them to do your job, these glasses can be considered a business expense.”
For questions and concerns about eye strain, contact your optometrist or Dr. Albin is available at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic’s Main Campus, located at 2727 West Holcombe, (713) 442-1000.
Kelsey-Seybold Clinic is Houston's premier multispecialty group practice, founded in 1949 by Dr. Mavis Kelsey in Houston's renowned Texas Medical Center. More than 650 physicians and allied health professionals practice at 36 locations in the Greater Houston area. Kelsey-Seybold offers quality medical care in 65 medical specialties. The organization operates the largest freestanding Ambulatory Surgery Center in the state of Texas and offers state-of-the-art Varian TrueBeam and Varian Edge radiation therapy technology at a nationally accredited Cancer Center. An accredited Sleep Center, comprehensive laboratory services, advanced imaging and diagnostics, 24 onsite Kelsey pharmacies and one specialty pharmacy, and MyKelseyOnline, a secure web portal, are part of its comprehensive offerings. Kelsey-Seybold partners with major insurers to offer value-based commercial health plans. KelseyCare Advantage, a Medicare Advantage plan offered to Houston-area beneficiaries and affiliated with Kelsey-Seybold Clinic, has achieved the coveted 5-out-of-5-star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid for seven consecutive years.
Kelsey-Seybold has been recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) as the nation’s first accredited Accountable Care Organization and a Patient-Centered Medical Home. Kelsey-Seybold has many physicians in the Greater Houston area certified for excellence in diabetes and heart and stroke care by the NCQA. In addition to these recognitions, Kelsey-Seybold is home to a nationally accredited Breast Diagnostic Center and Endoscopy Center.
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