The innermost layer of the surface of the eye is an aqueous mucous layer that forms the bulk of the tears, and contains electrolytes, a variety of proteins, and water. This layer is vital to a stable ocular surface, since it allows the tear film to actually adhere to the eye. Workers spending the most time on the computer have the lowest concentrations of an essential component of the mucous layer of the tear film, mucin 5AC, which contributes to their dry eye syndrome.
- Blinking – especially while working at the computer. When you work at the computer your blink rate decreases sharply. Researchers have discovered that equally important with blinking is blinking completely. Making sure that when you blink you close the eyelids completely makes a large difference in reducing the symptoms of dry eye and computer eye syndrome.
- The tear film and the blinking process also make vision possible.
Tear film is the moisture-laden surface of the eye, consisting of three layers (mucus layer, aqueous layer & lipid layer). These interrelated layers work together to remove debris from the surface of the eye, and to lubricate and protect the surface of the eye.
Blinking, normally about 10-12 times a minute, is a natural function that helps maintain this tear film. However, while focusing on a computer screen in order to maintain focus, blinking slows to an average of 3-4 times a minute. A slower rate of blinking and/or incomplete blinking means that the tear film is not distributed across the surface of the eye and we experience irritation and fatigue. The tear film begins to become unstable and thin after only 10 seconds without complete blinking.
- Proper ergonomics – The goal is to optimize the “fit” between each worker and his or her work environment to optimize performance and reduce the risk of eye strain
- Diet and Nutrition
- Avoid sugar and/or artificial sweeteners:
- Avoid the toxic fats
- Take Probiotics.
- Drink water – Drink 8 glasses of water a day.
- 20/20/20 rule-Every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds
- Use Eye drops when needed – Artificial tears are eyedrops used to lubricate dry eyes and help maintain moisture on the outer surface of your eyes.
- Blue light filters -glasses for the computer that filter out the blue light have been shown to be helpful in reducing dry eye symptoms
- Warm compresses -should be done 2-3 times a day for 10 minutes at a time
Warm compress or a eye mask help dry eyes. As it opens oil glands and allows natural oils to flow back into the eye relieving discomfort from aging, contact lenses, use of digital devices and more.
- Physical exercise- a brisk daily walk. A Japanese study concluded that an increase in the level of physical activity can be an effective intervention for the prevention of and/or treatment of dry eye disease.
- Eye Massage – Gently massage your upper and lower lids, a couple of times a day to stimulate the tear glands. Better yet, do this while in a warm shower.
- Blue Light Filtering Software.
- Blue Light Filtering Screen Protectors
- Turn on ambient lights
- Increase computer and smartphone font size
- Take breaks
Marc Grossman, Doctor of Optometry and New York State Licensed Acupuncturist is author of several books, including Natural Eye Care – Your Guide to Healthy Vision. Since 1980 Dr. Marc Grossman has helped many people maintain healthy vision and even improve eyesight. He is best described as a Holistic Eye Doctor, dedicated to helping people with such conditions ranging from myopia and dry eyes to potentially vision threatening diseases as macular degeneration and glaucoma. His combined multi-disciplinary approach using nutrition, eye exercises, lifestyle changes and Chinese Medicine provides him with a wide array of tools and approaches to tackle difficult eye problems. Dr. Grossman founded the Rye Learning Center in 1980, a multidisciplinary center for learning problems, in 1996 co-founded Integral Health Associates in New Paltz, New York, and in 1999 co-founded Natural Eye Care, Inc. For more information go to www.naturaleyecare.com or call 845-255-8222.