withRobert M. Kershner, MD, FACS
Refractive Eye Specialist, Eye Laser Consulting, Boston, Massachusetts
Computers Raise Eye-Straining Questions
The use of computers and visual display terminals (VDTs) in both the home and the work place has become more and more common. Today few homes and offices are without at least one computer monitor. The safety of VDTs as an exposure hazard is well established. However, those of us who use computers on a daily basis, especially for long periods of time, are at risk for developing symptoms of eyestrain. Eyestrain results in an aching or tired feeling of the eyes, difficulty focusing, headaches, red eyes or muscle spasms in the neck or shoulders. Eye strain is the result of light reflections from the screen, constant focusing at a fixed distance, and poor hand, eye and body position at the terminal.
Follow these simple rules to minimize the symptoms of eyestrain when working on a computer:
1. Position the monitor to reduce glare from existing lighting and reduce overall lighting level to allow comfortable viewing of the screen. Adjust brightness and contrast of the screen for maximum visibility.
2. Position the height of the screen and its distance from your eyes as comfortably as possible for maximum viewing. You should not need to look down, up, or strain to focus.
3. Adjust your chair to allow an easy viewing level without leaning, bending or straining.
4. Take breaks. Even brief periods of looking away from the screen to allow your eyes to relax their focus is important.
5. Use prescription computer glasses to keep the computer screen in focus. Anti-reflective coating and special tinting in the lenses can help reduce glare and minimize eyestrain.
6. Don’t forget to blink! Itching, burning and watering can be alleviated by using non-preserved artificial tear drops available without a prescription from your pharmacy. Above all, see, don’t strain!
Copyright 2004 Robert M. Kershner, M.D., F.A.C.S. All Rights Reserved.
Everyone experiences symptoms of dry eyes at one time or another. Conditions that speed up the evaporation of tears from the surface of the eye such as dry, arid climates, wind, a fan blowing, an air conditioner or heater blowing in your car, or sitting in front of a fireplace, can all bring on the symptoms of dry eye. If you have recently had LASIK or other eye surgery, you may notice symptoms of dry eye now that you no longer wear eyeglasses or contacts.
Thyroid disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, oxygen use or taking medications such as, diuretics, antihistamines and bronchodilators, can all increase the symptoms of dry eyes. Women are more likely than men to be bothered by dry eye and menopausal women are the most likely to be affected. Those who live in cold, dry or hot, arid climates are more susceptible, than those who live in moist, tropical environments where high levels of humidity reduce the symptoms considerably.
The surface of the eye requires an endless supply of moisture. Producing tears fast enough to keep up with evaporation is difficult, making dry eyes extremely common. The symptoms are easy to recognize: a scratchy or burning sensation, tearing, blurred vision or redness which usually gets worse as the day goes on. The treatment is simple: use plenty of non-preserved artificial tear supplements several times a day until symptoms improve.
Copyright 2002. Robert M. Kershner, M.D., F.A.C.S. All Rights Reserved.
DEGENERATION AND VISION
SYNOPSIS: Macular Degeneration (AMD), is a common disorder of the retina (macula) that can reduce the quality of vision as people age. For over twenty years, Dr. Robert Kershner has been instructing his patients to wear protective sunglasses outdoors, avoid damaging exposure to sunlight, and take a daily supplement of the antioxidant vitamins and zinc. Recently, the results from the age-related macular disease study have demonstrated that supplements containing high levels of Vitamin C, Beta-Carotene, and Zinc reduce visual loss for people at risk for AMD. Cigarette smoking is a well-established risk factor for the development of this disorder. We have learned that dietary fat intake, particularly the fat found in highly processed snack foods, is as yet another risk. Monounsaturated and vegetable fats such as the "polyunsaturated fats" may increase your risk of developing AMD. Family history plays a role; if you have a member of your family with the disease, you are at increased risk. For a complete review of Dr. Kershner's recommendations, go to "Your Eyes" on this website.
AMD is a genetic disorder. Some
day we may understand why it occurs; why it is more common in family members
with the disease; and what can be done to prevent its occurrence.
In this article, I would like to outline what we do know about the
benefits of early diagnosis and preventative care, to help slow the progression
of AMD. You do not have to
lose vision with AMD.
MACULAR DEGENERATION AND THE ROLE OF NUTRITION
When your mother told you to eat your carrots because it was good for your eyes, she was probably right. In fact, eating your spinach may actually be better. The role of nutrition in the process of macular degeneration is well known. Two substances known as carotenoids found in green leafy vegetables may significantly reduce an individual’s risk of developing AMD. They may also help preserve vision and prevent further deterioration of the retina. Substances, also known as anti-oxidants, exist in high concentration within the pigment of the central part of the retina in the back of the eye (macula). We know that a large amount of macular pigment (the substance that filters blue light) reduces the risk of macular degeneration. Absorbing blue light, acts to protect the retina by preventing oxidation. People with light colored irises (blue as opposed to dark brown) are at greater risk for developing AMD. Smoking is a well-established risk factor for this disease as well. Diets high in polyunsaturated fats, such as those found in processed snack foods are also at risk.
Two specific carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin, have been
associated with a decreased risk of AMD. As
you might expect, these two substances also appear in high concentration within
the macular pigment. The body cannot manufacture lutein on its own, and that is
why an adequate dietary intake is important.
A diet high in fruits and vegetables helps increase the concentration of
this substance in the blood. A
study published in 1988 showed that individuals with AMD who consume fruits and
vegetables in their diet and increase their intake of beta carotene (vitamin A)
had increased protection from AMD compared to those who did not.
Vitamins A, C, and E, as well as the trace mineral zinc, also play an
CAROTENOID CONTENT OF
Parsley, fresh (not dried)
FACTS ABOUT AMD
AMD is the
leading cause of blindness in people over 65 years of age.
As many as
13 million people in the United States have AMD
Americans are visually impaired from AMD.
people over the age of 75 have AMD.
of Americans over age 65 will double by the year 2050.
RISK FACTORS FOR AGE-RELATED MACULAR DEGENERATION
incidence of AMD is greater in family members of people who have the disease.
Women are at
greater risk for AMD than men.
blue eyes are at greater risk than people with brown eyes.
increases the risk of AMD.
may also increase the risk of AMD.
increases the risk of AMD.
fat in the diet increases the risk of AMD.
A diet low
in anti-oxidants is associated with increased risk of AMD.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO REDUCE
YOUR RISK OF DEVELOPING AMD
ultra-violet protecting sunglasses and wear a hat when out of doors to reduce
the amount of ultraviolet light entering the eye.
daily helpings of spinach, kale and vegetables high in lutein and zeaxanthin.
anti-oxidant vitamin supplement which includes the following:
as beta carotene
Spectacle correction – Get a good pair of
eyeglasses with proper correction which has a large reading bifocal with
Use a hand magnifier and a very bright reading
light to magnify the image.
Use a stand magnifier when reading.
Low vision aids are available through low vision
services that can magnify distance and intermediate vision, such as telescopes.
Closed-circuit television cameras and monitors can
magnify imaging for reading and can be purchased from several sources.
Lighthouse Inc. Information and Resource Center
111 East 59th
Street, New York, NY 10022
334-5497 Fax (212) 821-9705
on eye diseases, low vision resources
Lighthouse Low Vision Catalog, Optical Products, Non-optical products and
111 East 59th
Street, New York, NY
Group Catalog of products for the visually and hearing impaired
468-4789 Fax (847) 498-1482
International Catalog, vision care products
Avenue, Freeport, NY 11520
678-4277 Fax (800) 678-0002
Optik of America Catalog, Low Vision Rehabilitation Program
Allen Highway, Ridgefield, CT 06877
438-7471 Fax (203) 438-1670
Vision, Inc., Optical Aids for the Partially Sighted
designed telescopic and microscopic lens systems, special orders
Avenue, Ronkonkoma, NY 11779
About the author: Dr. Kershner is an internationally recognized ophthalmologist. He has written over two hundred scientific articles and eighteen textbooks, and lectures internationally to other eye surgeons on microsurgery of the eye. He is a frequent contributor to health columns and has been a featured guest on both radio and television. He is Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Utah School of Medicine.
If you would like a question answered by Dr. Kershner in a future column of Consultation Corner click here.
VIEW OUR LATEST NEWSLETTER HERE.
Page | Home
Page | What's New
| About Us
| Physicians |
| Your Eyes | Our Specialties | Appointment | FAQs | Location | Contact Us |
This website is intended for educational purposes only. It is not a substitute for medical advice from a physician. To schedule an appointment with one of our medical doctors, contact us on line, or by phone. Use of this site constitutes an agreement with the user that releases the Eye Laser Center and Robert M. Kershner, MD, from any and all liability.
Robert M. Kershner, M.D., F.A.C.S.
Designed & Developed by
Robert M. Kershner, MD, FACS
Copyright © 1998-2004 All servicemarks, trademarks and copy herein are registered property. All rights reserved.