Computer Vision Syndrome

October 4, 2010

Take frequent breaks from computer-use to help avoid CVS.

Eye Problems Caused by the Gadgets We Can’t Live Without

The world of work and play revolves around electronic devices such as the desktop, Smartphone and tablet PC.  According to the American Medical News, 57.7% of United States adults owned two or more computers in 2009. The magazine further states that there has been a marked increase in cases of patients complaining about eye pain and dryness over the past 10 to 15 years.

Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) is a condition caused by focus of the eyes on computers or other similar display-screens for lengthy, uninterrupted intervals of time.

Symptoms of CVS:

  • Headaches and neck pain which can result from poor posture and necessity to keep the body prone for extended periods
  • Dry and irritated eyes, a condition which is worse when accompanied by poor lighting or air conditioning blowing air directly across the eyes and decreasing humidity
  • Blurred vision
  • Eye strain
  • For people in their 30s to 40s, computer-viewing can lead to an early diagnosis of Presbyopia, which is a condition where the eyes have an increasingly difficult time focusing on near objects
  • Diplopia (a defect of vision where one object is seen as a multiple)

Looking at electronic screens is different from reading print materials because print materials are typically higher in contrast. Consider the newspaper, which is normally black ink on a light gray background. For electronic screen content, the eye deals with lower contrast, which requires more optical focus and, therefore, more effort.

Children need to take special precautions to prevent frequent eye strain caused by excessive use of computers as well as video games. Since their eyes are still growing, they frequent breaks in order to avoid strain.

Tips on Preventing CVS:

  • Blinking – Facebook posts and fourth-quarter sales forecasts can be so enthralling that people can actually forget to blink.
  • The 20-20-20 rule – Take a break every 20 minutes. Focus on an area about 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds to give your eyes a rest.
  • Screen Angle-for reduced neck strain, don’t position your monitor so you have to look up to see the screen. Your computer should be placed four to six inches below your line-of-sight for optimum alignment.
  • Eye Drops – Use artificial tears to replace lost moisture from lack of blinking and dry office air

While CVS is not an eye disease that requires surgery, it does adversely affect many. Care should be taken to make sure eyes are rested and properly cared for to decrease the risk of vision problems.

Located in Riverside, California, the office of Dr. Sandra Akamine Davidson is a full-service practice with seven staff members and two doctors of optometry. Along with Dr. Leanna M. Parisi, Dr. Davidson provides complete eye care, including: eye examinations, LASIK consultations, retinal photography and low vision evaluations. We also feature the latest in lenses and frames including the popular Transitions lenses and high-end frame designs such as Prada, D&G, and Ray-Ban. Schedule your appointment at the office where Eye Focus on You.

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Macular Degeneration

August 9, 2010

Macular Degeneration is the leading cause of blindness.

Today’s blog topic covers the eye condition known as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a condition that causes vision loss due to damage to the retina. With an estimated 2.95 people being afflicted by advanced AMD by 2020, it is vital for patients to be screened and treated for this degenerative disease. Since it is the leading cause of blindness in the US, AMD cannot be ignored.

Symptoms:

  • Blurred vision or a gradual loss of central vision
  • The appearance of drusen in your eyes, which is a yellowish or white accumulation of extracellular material
  • Trouble distinguishing between dark and light colors
  • Slow to have normal vision after being in bright light
  • Side or “peripheral” vision unaffected (though in rare cases, peripheral vision is affected by AMD.)

The disease is diagnosed as two different types, “dry” and “wet:”

  • The “dry” form of the disease is much more common and occurs where tissue deterioration in the macula is not accompanied by blood.  The deterioration of the retina is associated with the formation of small yellow deposits, known as drusen, under the macula. This phenomena leads to a thinning and drying out of the macula, causing the macula to lose its function (4). The amount of central vision loss is directly related to the location and amount of retinal thinning caused by the drusen.

  • Wet AMD is a complication of the dry form and results from fragile blood vessels beneath the macula and the retina. Blood and fluid leak out of these vessels, the reason for the “wet” designation. Wet AMD can progress rapidly, making prompt treatment and regular eye care appointments vital.

Treatments for AMD:

  • The focus for patients should be on preventing the onset of AMD as opposed to reversing the disease, since AMD is not 100% curable. Frequent exams with optometrists or retina specialists are the best option for identifying warning signs and establishing treatment options.
  • For dry macular, medical or surgical treatment options are not currently available. However, some studies have suggested that some vitamin supplements or diets that have high dosages of certain antibiotics can potentially slow the spread of dry AMD.
  • Injection treatments for wet AMD include Lucentis and Asvastin, two drugs that are injected directly into the eye. Don’t be alarmed; a very thin needle is used and the experience is not traumatic.
  • Other options include surgery and laser treatments. Your eye care doctors can advise you on available options available and associated risks.

Patients who visit the office of Dr. Akamine Davidson will experience a slower-paced exam, which is tailored for the needs of individuals who have limited vision issues such as AMD.

  • Usage of the Feinblooom Chart which features larger-sized numbers/letters and is intended to be set 10 feet from patients instead of at the more standard 20-feet distance.
  • Extra time is allowed for exams so patients are never rushed. This is especially important for those dealing with the frustrations associated with limited vision.
  • Trial frames are tried using various lenses, which allows for more natural viewing

As with many medical conditions, early diagnosis can make all the difference. While it is not curable, the progression of AMD can be slowed or stopped providing symptoms are caught early and proper treatment options are followed.

The office of Sandra Akamine Davidson is a full-service seven staff member facility located in Riverside California. Along with her associate Dr. Leanna Parisi, Dr. Akamine Davidson oversees a comprehensive eye care center, including eye examinations, LASIK consultations, retina photography and low vision evaluations. The office also features the latest in lenses and frames which include Transitions lenses and high-end frame designs including Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, and Ray-Ban. More information can be found at the office site at www.sandradavidsonod.com