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Caring for Your Eyes - No Cost and Little Effort
July 27, 2018

Caring for Your Eyes - No Cost and Little Effort

Many people with macular degeneration are often seeking the best visual aid, magnifier, supplement or treatment to improve their vision and their ability to perform certain tasks like reading or writing.

But did you know that that there are some simple things you can do at home to help reduce eye fatigue and eye strain that costs you nothing and takes hardly any effort?

Eye Fatigue

I was reminded of this during a recent conversation with my elderly father-in-law who has wet macular degeneration. He often complained that after reading for about 30" his eyes became tired, strained and irritated. It didn't matter if he was reading a large print book, from an electronic e book reader or using a reading magnifier. After this period of time he would just stop reading, even though he wanted to finish a newspaper article or a chapter in a book.

He told his ophthalmologist this when he was in to get an eye injection. His eye doctor said, "Oh that eye problem is easy to solve. You are not blinking often enough." As my father-in-law thought about this he realized, just how true it was. He found himself staring at the screen as he concentrated on what he was reading. He is certainly not alone - it is very typical for anyone - with or without macular degeneration - to find themselves staring at a book, computer screen, iPad, Kindle or any other electronic device, forgetting to blink.

Blink Often and Blink Completely

In fact Optometry and Vision Science reports in their May 2013 issue on a study called, Blink Rate, Incomplete Blinks and Computer Vision Syndrome that: "Whereas Computer Vision Syndrome symptoms are associated with a reduced blink rate, the completeness of the blink may be equally significant. Because instructing a patient to increase his or her blink rate may be ineffective or impractical, actions to achieve complete corneal coverage during blinking may be more helpful in alleviating symptoms during computer operation."

They found that computer users blink less often and less completely. With less blinking and incomplete blinking there is less lubrication of the eye which leads to that irritated eye feeling that my father-in-law experienced.

Computer Vision Syndrome commonly affects almost anyone who uses electronic screens. Find out how adjusting the brightness and contrast of your computer or tablet monitor can reduce computer eye fatigue as well as how some simple eye exercises can prevent eye strain:

Exercises and Tips to Reduce Computer Eye Strain

Leslie Degner, RN, BSN

Better Health for Better Vision

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