Computer vision syndrome, MGD and Blephasteam
After staring at a monitor for hours on end, have your eyes ever felt dry, itchy or just plain annoyed? Has your vision become blurry, or have you even seen double? Do you get headaches from all the squinting and straining?
The amount of time you spend staring at a computer screen can affect your eyes. Computer vision syndrome, or digital eyestrain is incredibly common. In fact, over half of people who work in front of a computer screen have some symptoms of eye trouble, studies show.
People usually blink around 18 times per minute, which refreshes the eyes naturally. But blink rates are reduced when staring at a computer screen. According to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, a person blinks up to 66 per cent less frequently while using a computer.
Blinking is important because it helps spread tears and mucus across your eyes. If you’re blinking less, the tears on your eyes have more time to evaporate, resulting in ‘dry eye’.
Blinking and MGD
A reduction in blinking can also cause MGD or meibomian gland dysfunction, a very common type of dry eye disease. Symptoms include sore eyes, dry eyes, teary eyes, blurry vision, double vision, light sensitivity, difficulty focusing on images, neck pain, headache or a combination of all of the above.
MGD occurs when the film of tears covering the eye is inadequate. Normally, a layer of tears keeps the eye moist, and the glands in your eyelids, around 30 of them in each upper and lower eyelid, produce oils which form the outermost layer of these tears. This oily layer seals the tear film, preventing tears from evaporating.
If your blink rate is reduced, these oils will not be secreted as often which means the watery element in your tears evaporates more quickly and the concentration of salts in the tears rises. This salty environment becomes toxic, and nerve endings at the front of the eye are exposed to external forces such as wind and irritants in the air.
Dry, salty eyes
When the meibomian glands do not secrete enough oil or the quality of the oil is not good, the glands can block, leading to meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) and eyes drying out too quickly.
If the signs of meibomian gland dysfunction or MGD are suspected, it is important to treat the issue to prevent cell damage. If left untreated, MGD may become so severe that it interferes with work and normal life activities.
Instead of turning a blind eye to the damage computers are doing to your eyes, there are quick and easy steps you can take to reduce eyestrain triggers. The first step is to get an accurate diagnosis from an optometrist.
See an eye expert
If you suffer from dry eye symptoms, it might be time to get your eyes evaluated. Make an appointment with one of our optometrists to see if we can help relieve your symptoms.
We specialise in managing and treating dry eye
Talk to us about our available treatments to relieve dry eye and MGD symptoms and improve quality of life.
We have Blephasteam heat goggles in our Auckland clinic to safely and gently warm the eyelids to help unblock the meibomian glands and provide longer-lasting dry eye relief. Blephasteam Goggles have proven to be a very effective treatment. The earlier dry eye is detected, and treatment started, the better.
This procedure involves a pair of goggles similar to swimming goggles but with an inbuilt heating mechanism. The goggles are pre-heated before being placed on your face for about 10 minutes. Disposable paper rings soaked in water are placed inside the electric goggles and heat makes the paper rings produce steam, melting the waxy oils in the eyes.
The glands need to be warmed up to a temperature where the oil secretion blocking the glands melts to a liquid state. The ideal temperature is normally just above 40 degrees. The amount of moisture produced by the goggles doesn’t steam up the lenses, so you can read, watch television or use a computer while wearing them.
Once the oils in the glands began to cool, we can help you express the unhealthy oils from the glands so they are replaced by clearer, healthier oils. This is a simple therapy to open the glands in your lower eyelid.
Blephasteam treatment frequency
Once the nature of your specific dry eye syndrome or meibomian gland dysfunction has been confirmed, a tailor-made Blephasteam programme can be developed.
Depending on the quality of the oils expressed, it is usually recommended that you have a few of these procedures, several weeks apart.
You don’t have to put up with the discomfort of dry eyes any longer. Studies have shown that Blephasteam Goggles reduce discomfort and symptoms and are safe, hygienic and easy to use.
Change your view on dry eye syndrome
Our Auckland optometrists specialise in treating dry eye and MGD. Between our Henderson Optometry practice and our optometrists in Newmarket our staff has dedicated over 35 years’ helping dry eye patients enjoy more comfortable lives. We offer effective in-house treatments to clear the glands and we can show you how you can maintain a treatment plan at home for good eye health. Call 09 522 1283 or 09 836 1731 to schedule a comprehensive eye check and treatment plan.