How I Cope With Computer Eyes?

Friday, 9 September 2016

I'm a pretty heavy user of screens. I would estimate that around 75% of my time at home, I'm looking at a screen. With the increase of smartphone use and how easy it is to take a tablet with you from room to room, it's so easy to find yourself looking at a screen. When I was a kid my mum used to say that my "eyes will turn square" if I looked at a screen for too long. It turns out that's not too far from the truth!

Computer Vision Syndrome is a combination of different symptoms that has been caused by working at a computer or just using screens in general. Symptoms can include headaches, blurred vision, eye strain, dry eyes, dizziness and trouble focusing eyes. There are more that can be lumped under this umbrella, but these appear to be the most common. Also according to recent data up to 90% of people who use computers for more than 3 hours a day have CVS. I suffer eye strain and dry eyes on a pretty regular basis from using screens, and from glare of working under minimal lighting at night.

To reduce eye strain doctors suggest the 20-20-20 rule. For every 20 minutes stare at something 20 ft away for 20 seconds. This is meant to give your eyes a sufficient amount of time away from the screen to keep your eyes healthy. That's all well and good but I definitely do not have the dedication to remind myself to do this, especially when I'm really focused on something.

That's why for the past month and half I've been trying out computer glasses, and I'm pretty sure they have been working. I first saw them marketed as gaming glasses through the Gunnar brand and they seemed like a bit of a hoax. But the research and my personal experience really seem to suggest they work. Generally most computer glasses work by having an anti glare coating and a coloured tint to make it easier on your eyes to focus. The tint (generally yellow) increase the contrast of your vision as well as filtering out harsh blue lights from computer screens. This also helps your circadian rhythm because the blue light from screens suppresses the melatonin (the chemical that regulates your sleep cycle) production in the brain.

For the past month I have been using them and they have been working pretty well. The one thing I thought I may have trouble getting used to was the tint, however after a few minutes of wearing them you can barely notice them. Gunnar are probably the most well known brand of these glasses. Their prices usually start at around £60, and are available in prescriptions too. However the ones I got are at the much more reasonable £20. Made by the brand Duco, my glasses may not be as sturdy or use as high quality materials. However they are perfect for what I need and for someone that is on the fence about using them. They have also been very comfy over long use. If you're not a regular computer user or haven't had any eye problems I wouldn't waste your money, but they have been well worth the price for me! :)

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