Eye Care for Heavy PC users

My average day involves a lot of staring at a PC screen. It starts when I walk into work and start writing news pieces, and TV and Monitor reviews. I also write a lot on my laptop in my free time, and cannot sleep without watching a few episodes of my favorite sitcoms. The only time I don’t have a screen in front of my face is when I’m traveling, eating, sleeping or doing my morning duties. This puts a real strain on my eyes, and if you sit in front of a screen half as much as I do, you’re bound to have the same problem as well.

The eye sees all - respect it

Most PC users complain of problems such as headaches, blurry vision and dry eyes. These problems can not only cause permanent damage to your eyes, but also reduced work output and energy loss. Glaucoma is another danger that you may encounter due to heavy PC usage, especially if you suffer from near-sightedness. This is a high risk disease that causes loss of vision due as it damages your optic nerve. Do we want this? Hell, no! So how do we deal with this? We obviously cannot afford to not use computers and not watch TV, and not play our favourite games. No, that would be giving up way too easily!

We must fight instead, and fortunately, we have experts to help us with our problems. I spoke to my ophthalmologist, and these are a few tips she gave me:

Believe it or not, it is imperative to blink your eyes regularly while using your PC. Blinking causes lubrication in the eyes, and dry eyes will definitely take a toll on your viewing. So remember to blink; it only takes a fraction of a second.

Tired, puffy eyes are a sign of stress

Look away
It is really important to take short breaks to relieve the strain on your eyes. You don’t even have to get up from your chair. Talk to a co-worker for a minute or two, or just look at distant objects. The latter suggestion will help you focus better. This can be done for a few minutes every hour.

Hot water fomentation
When you get home, heat up some water, dip a clean cloth in it and use it to dab your eyelids. This frees up a lot of tension in the eyes. In fact, if you have a hot water dispenser at work, this can be done a few times a day when you are taking breaks.

Artificial teardrops lubricate your eyes, making you feel a lot better

Artificial tears
If you feel like your eyes are constantly feeling dry and itchy, it is definitely not a good sign. This is because of lack of blinking coupled with an air-conditioned work environment. Re-wetting eye drops are basically artificial tears that lubricate your eyes, thus relieving a lot of strain. Try and opt for drops without preservatives, as these can be toxic in the long run. These drops should be used at least 5-6 times a day, but can be used whenever necessary. Be sure to consult your ophthalmologist before buying the drops yourself.
I also spoke to a retired ophthalmologist, Dr. Joy Khanna to see what old-school methods can be used for relieving stress your eyes feel. Here’s what he had to say.

“I believe that taking care of the eyes is a must, especially when you depend on them to earn a living. They must not be taken for granted, and should be treated with respect. You don’t have to go to a doctor every time something minor happens. All you have to do is take certain precautions, and commit yourself to doing some eye exercises a few times a day. This will surely help you”

Here are some pointers that Dr. Khanna readily advocates:

Take breaks
If you feel your eyes hurting, you should stop staring at the screen immediately. Take a walk, or just go to the restroom and splash some water on your eyes. Your eyes can take a lot of strain, but everything has its limits.

Don't stress your eyes out - you need them

Eat right
Your parents told you this throughout your childhood, and if you’d listened to them instead of making a face, things may have been better. But it’s never too late. Eat healthy foods such as salads, fresh fruit and leafy vegetables. This doesn’t mean you have to turn into a complete vegetarian; just make sure you include these items in your daily eating patterns.

Drink lots of water
When you sit in an air-conditioned environment, you get dehydrated without knowing it. Drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated, as this also helps decrease puffiness in the eyes.

Get your eyes checked
If your eyes are constantly irritated, you may have to get prescription glasses. Go to your ophthalmologist, and not directly to an optician. The former will be able to diagnose your eye problems correctly. You may have an eye infection, or you may need to get glasses. It is important to visit your ophthalmologist at least once a year.

The right pair of glasses don't look too bad

So there you have it; different advice from two experts. I’ve actually tried out all of these (apart from the veggie eating), and they all work wonders. So stop taking your eyes for granted, and listen to what these good doctors have to say, as it’ll only help you.

Published Date: Dec 02, 2010 04:30 pm | Updated Date: Dec 02, 2010 04:30 pm