Eyes and health, computer vision syndrome

Good habits and remedies to counteract computer vision syndrome.
For work, as a hobby, for fun, to keep in touch with people that live far away or simply to get informed, the computer is becoming a truly indispensable tool. However, together with the increase in the hours spent on the PC, there is also an increase of a condition that scientists call computer vision syndrome. This disorder affects the eyes and their functioning causing blurred vision, maybe after hours on the computer what we previously saw without problems then we see with difficulty so much that we have to squint, we have red and irritated eyes, dry and tired eyes, headache, light sensitivity but also neck pain (Sheppard et al, BMJ Open Ophthalmol, 2018). The symptoms are transient but still annoying. Since it is not always possible to reduce the hours on the PC, let's see the possible actions to be taken to mitigate this discomfort.

The 20 20 20 rule

The American Optometric Association promotes the 20 20 20 rule. This means that doctors recommend a 20-second break every 20 minutes spent on the computer by observing an object 20 feet away, namely about 6 meters, to relieve computer vision syndrome (Sheppard et al, BMJ Open Ophthalmol, 2018).

Drops for eyes and blinking

Fixing the monitor reduces the number of blinks, it has been shown by scientific studies. Blinking is important as this movement is essential to keep the eye surface hydrated. When the number of blinks drops, as happens when you are a lot on the computer, one of the consequences could be the dry eye. Therefore, a tip given by doctors to those that use a lot the computer is to strive to blink often so as to block the evaporation of tears and maintain hydration (Akkaya et al, North Clin Instanb, 2018). In any case, also eye drops have been shown to improve eye health and its moisture level (Bogdanici et al, Rom J Ophthalmol., 2017).

Small tricks

The American Optometric association recommends to place the PC about 50-70 cm away from the eyes and to make sure that its center is about 10 cm lower than eye level. This also avoids incorrect postures that would increase tension and eye strain (Akkaya et al, North Clin Instanb, 2018). Other precautions are to avoid working on the computer in front of a window from which a lot of light enters. If it cannot be done otherwise, it would be better to draw the curtains so that the external light does not strain the eyes. Then, it is good to avoid an imbalance between the ambient light and that of the monitor by working on filters and computer contrast (Loh et al, Malays Fam Physician, 2008).

Natural remedies

Scientific research has observed that a remedy of the Ayurvedic tradition, triphala, taken in the form of eye drops, has made possible to alleviate the eye fatigue linked to computer vision syndrome. Not only that, this remedy is also able to strengthen visual functionality (Gamgamma et al, Ayu, 2010). Triphala is given by the union of three herbs, amalaki, haritaki and bibhitaki, which work in synergy against inflammation and free radical damage. The remedy can be found in the form of eye drops in the best-supplied herbalist’s shops or online. Alternatively, triphala powder is easier to find. In this case you can add 1 teaspoon of triphala to a cup of distilled water, let it brew overnight covered with a cloth. The next day you can use a gauze soaked in this tea and apply it on the eyes. Another remedy is given by compresses with cornflower. Cornflower is in fact anti-inflammatory and antioxidant and helps in case of red and irritated eyes (Garbacki et al, J Ethnopharmacol, 1999). For this reason, you can bring a liter of water to a boil together with two tablespoons of cornflower flowers for a few minutes. Then remove from the heat and let brew for 30 minutes. Filter and pour into a dark jar, which you can keep for no more than a month in the fridge. Soak a gauze in this decoction and apply on closed eyelids for 10-15 minutes, even 3 times a day.
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