Do you feel more fatigued than usual after a busy workday? Do your eyes burn or feel dry? If these conditions are happening more and more, you could be experiencing dry eye syndrome. About five-million Americans, age 50 and older, suffer from this ailment, which affects nearly twice as many women as men. According to the American Optometric Association, dry eye is a condition in which a person doesn’t have enough quality tears to lubricate and nourish the eye.
Dry eye conditions are on the rise, and while there are many causes – allergens, air quality, contact lenses, menopause, cold or allergy medications – the culprit may actually be your computer screen. When we work at a computer or use a smartphone or tablet, we tend to blink less. This focus on the monitor/screen creates tear evaporation and causes the eyes to become dry.
So how do we fix this when we can’t “unplug” from our computers at work? First, it’s important to look away from our computer screens every 15-20 minutes, for at least 20 seconds. If you’re near a window, take a moment to enjoy the view, or if you’re not, make sure you hang a few pictures or place picture frames on your desk so you have something to look at. Second, it’s important to blink. We tend to stare at images on our screens, and though we aren’t conscious of how often we blink, we need to remind ourselves to blink more. Lastly, when you’re not at work, unplug from all your devices to give your eyes a much needed rest.
To learn more about dry eye syndrome visit the Mayo Clinic’s website.