Computer vision syndrome is a common eye condition that is manifested by the following symptoms: a burning or stinging feeling in your eye, photophobia and dryness of the eye. As the name suggests, it usually occurs in people who use the computer excessively.  Most people will relate this to Eye Strain.

Computer vision syndrome is not a serious condition that you have to worry about in most cases. But it can affect the way you function, especially if your work relies heavily on computers. Thus, there may be instances when the condition has to be treated in a specialised and customised way.  Even though we say this is not a serious condition at The Eye Practice since trialling a unique treatment system called LipiFlow thermal pulsation we have been introduced to a whole new subset of dry eye patients nearly all of which have worked extensively on computers) that have severe debilitating symptoms that inhibits their work and ultimately their ability to create an income.

Here are some treatment procedures and medications that may be prescribed to manage your computer vision syndrome:

•    Glasses may be prescribed if you have refractive errors like presbyopia. Different types of glasses like occupational glasses and lenses like multifocals or single vision lenses may be used, depending on your condition.

•    The symptoms of this condition normally resemble those of dry eye syndrome. Thus, the medical therapy that works for dry eyes may also be done to relieve symptoms of computer vision syndrome. The therapy can include punctal occlusion.

•    For severe cases, you may need to resort to surgical procedures like punctal plug insertion to address your condition.

•    Physical therapy and/or orthopedic evaluation may be necessary if you are suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome and cervical myositis as well.

•    While it may sound farfetched, you may actually benefit from an engineering consultation. You can get recommendations on how to rearrange your workstation with regard to the set-up of your computer as well as the sufficiency of light therein to prevent your computer vision syndrome symptoms from worsening. You can also ask for suggestions on how to improve humidity.

•    Topical ocular treatment replacement therapies may be used. You can choose from either preservative-free ophthalmic drops or those with vanishing preservatives. Here are some lubricant eye drops you can choose from:

o    Refresh Liquigel
o    Refresh Tears with the sodium chlorite Purite vanishing preservative system
o    Artelac (lipid based)
o    Systane Preservative-free
o    Restasis (cyclosporine A ophthalmic emulsion) can help increase tear production if your tear glands appear to be suppressed due an ocular inflammation associated with dry eye syndrome. This preservative-free eye drop can replace both the lipid and aqueous components of your tear film. Note, however, that you cannot use this if you have an active eye infection or if you are allergic to any of its ingredients. In Australia Restasis is only allowed by government authority.  This tedious procedure can be bypassed by using a compounding chemist to make the cyclosporine in various concentrations.

•  Recently in Australia a new dry eye formulation has been released by Ursapharm which includes a preservative free Hyaluronate formula and an ointment, which has Vitamin A.

•    If you have computer vision syndrome, avoid wearing contact lenses, especially at night time, since tear production is lowest during this period. You can use eye glasses in the meantime.

•    Avoid medications like anti-cholinergics and anti-histamines as they can worsen your symptoms.

•    Position your monitor properly in order to decrease your angle of gaze

As mentioned above, computer vision syndrome is not a serious condition. You just need to have it evaluated and addressed early on so that its symptoms will not worsen and you can rule out the existence of more serious underlying eye or medical conditions.

Computer Vision Syndrome and related Eye Strain can be an extremely complex area.

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