Friday, October 23, 2009

Are you having trouble reading this? Maybe you have CVS.

From the San Francisco Chronicle. Doc Gurley:

How about if you are (or were) reading it on an iPhone or Blackberry? There is no doubt that intensive staring at computer screens, let alone tiny screens like those on the iPhone or Blacberry, is not exactly good for your eyes. But what to do about it? I got a very interesting email from a reader who is pretty serious about this topic. And the advice is very good, so I am going ahead and passing it on to you.
iPhones, Blackberries and other small screen gadgets like the Kindle may be giving you Computer Vision Syndrome (or CVS)! Anyone who spends two or more uninterrupted hours per day in front of a computer screen – regardless of size – is prone to CVS. And with the hours most of us log on these gadgets tapping out emails and surfing the web, 175 million Americans are reportedly feeling the pain!
The American Optometric Association defines CVS as “the complex of eye and vision problems related to near work, which are experienced during or related to computer use.” In simple terms, the human vision system was not designed for long hours of computer viewing. Unlike typical print, PDA screens are made up of electronically generated characters called pixels - tiny dots of light that are hard for our eyes to focus on because it causes the brightness in the font to vary. As a result, more and more Americans are suffering from CVS symptoms that range from neck aches and headaches, to dry, irritated eyes, and blurred or double vision.
“While these small and highly productive devices may make us more efficient work-wise, they are causing unprecedented levels of CVS symptoms in patients of all ages — we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the number of patients we see monthly for CVS,” said Dr. Harvey Moscot, a renowned Optometrist in New York City and a CVS specialist who is presently conducting a CVS study to evaluate the effectiveness of specialized lenses for the reduction of CVS symptoms.
So can you live without your PDA? Probably not! But there is hope — Dr. Moscot prescribes a few simple measures to help those of you who are tethered to your iPhones and Blackberries see a little easier:
·If the PDA screen makes you squint, don’t bring it closer to your eyes. Sharpen the image with antiglare films or increase the font. Reducing glare or increasing font can make the overall reading experience much easier on your eyes.
·The Omega 3’s in flaxseed and fish oil supplements are excellent for achieving long-term lubrication for your eyes. Add them to your must-take supplement list. Dr. Moscot recommends a pharmaceutical grade fish oil supplement and at least 1,000mgs every day, it’s specially formulated to relieve dry eye symptoms.
·Get a CVS-specific eye examination that enables doctors to accurately diagnose CVS by duplicating the pixels of a computer screen, allowing doctors to determine a more accurate prescription based on exam results and the way you use your PDA each day. After the test, doctors are able to prescribe eyewear with special computer lenses that eliminate the need for you to constantly refocus your eyes, which reduces eyestrain. After all, when you go running you bring your running shoes. When you sit in front of the computer you should have your computer glasses.
·Follow the 20/20/20 rule: every 20 minutes take a break and with each eye look at something about 20 feet away from you for 20 seconds.
·Lighting is key! If you have a choice in the matter, make sure outside windows are neither directly behind nor ahead of you. Ambient overhead light is best.
·Remember to blink. People blink 5 times less while looking at the computer, blinking helps rewet the eyes and prevent dryness and irritation.
·Clean your screen. While this may sound obvious, cutting out the veiling glare caused by fingerprints, smearing, dust and other particles obstruct your view will help alleviate symptoms.

Posted By: Doc Gurley (Email) October 19 2009 at 11:17

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