Local eye experts break down ‘computer vision syndrome’

Local News

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – In a year, where hindsight has been 2020, our eyesight is being altered by hours of looking at our screens, tablets, and computers. First News at Nine’s Phoebe Murray explains how the pandemic has exacerbated what eye experts call ‘computer vision syndrome’.

“All of sudden, everything we do is within two feet of us, and so that makes the eyes need to converge or point in and we have to hold and maintain that position all day long,” said Dr. Siobhan Beeksma, Optometrist and owner of Espy Specs on Golf Road.

Dr. Beeksma complaints of eyestrain, eye fatigue, and eye dryness have increased as people are spending more time in front of their screens.

Beeksma said, “Feel like their eyes are stressed out and they feel sometimes like their vision gets blurry, sometimes they feel like their vision might even go double from being on the computer all day long.”

These are all signs of computer vision syndrome, which can cause dry eyes and headaches.  

Dr. Lin Chen at Marshfield Medical Center in Eau Claire explains how the muscles in our eyes have to work harder when doing up-close work, resulting in over-stressed eyes or ‘eye headaches’

Dr. Chen said, “You just keep looking at the screen, right, keep looking down, keep doing near work and you are a lot of times, we say when you are doing near work, you don’t blink an eye you’re so concentrated .”

Chen finds that the younger generation is more susceptible to becoming nearsighted because their eyes are still growing. People who Chen says at their age shouldn’t be having eye issues.

Chen said, “They started complaining, you know, kind of getting blurry on a computer when they say blurry I say ‘is that because you are on a computer, do you have the same problem on the weekend?’”.

What both eye doctors recommend to keep your distance vision healthy, is the ’20-20-20 rule.’

“Every twenty minutes try and look twenty feet away for at least twenty seconds, trying to give yourself those visual breaks so you’re not constantly locked into that up close focus, so that you are looking across the room, down the hallway, looking out a window anything you can do to look as far away as possible,” said Beeksma.

Chen adds, using over the counter artificial tears or even getting a humidifier for your workspace will help with dry eyes in the winter months.

In Eau Claire, Phoebe Murray, First News at Nine.

Dr. Chen and Dr. Beeksma say it’s also worth visiting your eye doctor if you’re routinely experiencing blurry vision, dry- eyes, or eye soreness after your workday.

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