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For many years, people who use computers for a long time have been reporting an increase in discomfort and signs of dry eye disease. A recent study (June, 2014) of Japanese office workers has shown the cause to be a decreased concentration of a substance called Mucin5AC in tears. Mucins act as protectors and lubricants on the surface of the eye to keep them moist.

The study confirmed that participants stated to having dry eye disease, probable dry eye, or no dry eye at all. Participants also experienced eyestrain symptoms. Dry eye disease has been associated with varying degrees of discomfort and reduced productivity and impairment.

Here are 3 Signs You Should Know:

  1. Over-the-counter (OTC) ocular lubricants are not working. These products consist of normal saline, which adds to the overall volume of tears. Others work by increasing either the mucins or the lipids. The problem is that most patients have no idea which component of their tears is causing their symptoms, so success with OTCs is variable. Effective treatment of dry eye disease depends on finding the underlying cause and an assessment by an Optometrist can better help find a solution.
  2. Non-ergonomic computer workstations linked to dry eye. Offices that aren't set up well for comfort of the user can lead to dry eyes. Monitors should not be too high. Gazing straight or even slightly upwards, can result in dry eye symptoms because it has been shown that the rate of blinking decreases by as much as one-third. Lower blink rate leads to increased tear evaporation and thus eye dryness. Monitors should be viewed slightly downwards for a more natural reading posture.
  3. Most common dry eye symptoms. People experiencing eyestrain, redness, itching, burning and blurred vision should see their Optometrist. An Optometrist can provide solutions such as determining the proper lens prescription appropriate for viewing computer monitors and any close work to help reduce eye strain. For moderate to severe dry eyes, Optometrist may recommend nutraceuticals, warm compresses, lipiflow, or artificial tears. 

If you use a computer all day long and into the night, a targeted treatment will result in better eye relief. Consult with your Optometrist to ensure you're seeing the best for success!

Reference: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24184225

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