How Chronic Dry Eye Sufferers Avoid Computer Eye Strain

Dry eye leads to computer eye strain, and computer eye strain can make dry eyes worse. Let us help you break this endless cycle of ocular discomfort. We’re sharing our tips for avoiding dry eyes and eye strain when using electronic devices. 

Need more help? Call Will Vision and Laser Centers at 877-542-3937 to schedule a consultation with our acclaimed refractive surgeon Dr. Brian Will.

How Computer Use Worsens Dry Eye Symptoms

Staring at a screen isn’t just a catchy phrase for computer use; it’s what actually happens when you’re using an electronic device. All that staring means that you blink less often, and less blinking leads to drier eyes. 

Blinking is a natural process that cleanses and hydrates the eyes. Each time your eyes shut, protective substances wash over the eye, clearing away dust and providing lubrication and hydration. The average person blinks about 15 times a minute. When using a computer or other electronic device, that rate is cut in half.

If you already have dry eyes, computer use can worsen your symptoms. Likewise, if you use a computer often, you’re more likely to experience dry eyes.

Reducing Eye Strain and Dry Eye When Using the Computer

How can you reduce dry eye symptoms in our modern world? We have a few simple tricks that can provide dramatic relief. If your symptoms persist after trying these DIY solutions, come in for a visit to explore treatment options. 

  • Consciously Blink- When using a computer or other screen, the frequency of your automatic blinking is reduced. You can offset this by consciously blinking on occasion. When you think about it, take a quick pause in your work and blink. 
  • Practice the 20-20-20 Rule- The 20-20-20 rule is an easy way to refresh the eyes during periods of high strain. Set a timer for 20 minutes when using the computer. When it beeps, look away from the screen and focus your gaze on something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. Repeat every 20 minutes. 
  • Use Warm Compresses- A warm, wet compress can remoisturize the eyes and helps to release oil from the glands in the eyelids, improving the quality of your tears. 
  • Reduce Allergens- Smoke, dust, and pollution can irritate the eyes. Avoid smoking and areas where others smoke. If you live in a high-pollution area, consider using an air purifier to improve the air quality in your space. 
  • Eat Fish- Are you getting plenty of Omega-3s? Eating fatty fish, like tuna and salmon, may reduce dry eye symptoms in some patients. 
  • Try Eye Drops- Artificial tears are available over-the-counter and can be used to supplement your body’s tear production. Thicker lubricating gels are also available, but typically these are best used right before bed, as they can temporarily blur vision. 
  • Turn Off the Fan- Do you have a fan at your desk? Moving air can dry the eyes. Fans can exacerbate dry eye symptoms when using a computer. Turn off the fan, and if your dry eye symptoms are severe, consider adding a small humidifier to your workspace. 
  • Visit Your Doctor- Dealing with dry eye and computer eye strain isn’t something you have to DIY. Treatment options are available. We use MiBo ThermoFlo® and LipiFlow® systems to relieve dry eye and bring our patients lasting relief. Come see Dr. Will to explore your treatment options for dry eye in the Pacific Northwest. 

Schedule your consultation at Will Vision and Laser Centers by calling 877-542-3937. We have office locations in both Salem, OR and Vancouver, WA.