Mar 5th 2024

Contact Lenses & Computer Use: Tips for Reducing Eye Strain

Contact Lenses & Computer Use: Tips for Reducing Eye Strain

In today's digital age, computers have become an indispensable part of our daily lives. From work to leisure, our eyes remain glued to screens for extended periods. It seems like every week our screen time is increasing more and more. However, for the millions of people who wear contact lenses, prolonged screen time can pose unique challenges, often leading to discomfort and eye strain.

Understanding Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS)

Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) is a modern-day ailment that has grown in prevalence in the digital age. As more individuals spend hours looking at computer screens, whether for work, study, or leisure, the strain on the eyes has become a significant concern. The symptoms of CVS aren't just limited to the eyes.

Among the most common complaints are the following:

  • Dryness
  • Itchiness
  • Blurred Vision

In addition, many also experience headaches as a result of the constant strain and focus on bright screens. Furthermore, the posture adopted during computer use can lead to neck and shoulder pain, making CVS a multifaceted issue.

For contact lens wearers, the challenges are even more pronounced. The screen's glare, combined with the reduced blink rate typical for computer users, can cause lenses to dry out faster. This dryness can lead to increased friction between the lens and the cornea leading to discomfort and irritation. The prolonged focus on screens can also make the eyes tire faster, especially if the contact lenses aren't providing optimal correction.

Choosing the Right Contact Lenses

In today's digitalized world, ensuring that your contact lenses adhere to your lifestyle is essential. With many of us spending a significant portion of our day in front of screens, our lenses need to support this activity. When discussing your needs with an optometrist, it's important to mention the duration and frequency of your computer use.

Modern lens technology has evolved to cater to the needs of digital device users. Lenses with blue light filtering capabilities can help reduce the amount of harmful blue light that reaches the eyes, potentially reducing the risk of macular degeneration and aiding in better sleep. Additionally, some lenses are designed with enhanced moisture retention properties, ensuring that they remain hydrated even during prolonged screen time. This feature is particularly beneficial for those working in air-conditioned environments, which can exacerbate eye dryness.

Proper Lens Care

The importance of maintaining clear vision cannot be overstated, especially when it comes to reducing eye strain. If a contact lens has defects, deposits, or are simply dirty, it can scatter light making the eyes work harder to focus and leading to quicker fatigue.

Regular and thorough cleaning of contact lenses is a must. Over time, protein deposits from our tears can accumulate on the lens surface, reducing clarity and increasing the risk of eye infections. Using the recommended cleaning solutions and following the prescribed cleaning routine can ensure that these deposits are effectively removed.

Furthermore, hygiene plays a pivotal role in lens care. Our hands come into contact with countless surfaces throughout the day, collecting a myriad of microorganisms. Handling contact lenses with unclean hands can introduce these contaminants to the eyes, leading to infections or irritations. A simple act of washing hands with soap and water, followed by drying them with a lint-free towel, can significantly reduce these risks.

The 20-20-20 Rule

The 20-20-20 rule is a testament to the fact that sometimes, the most straightforward solutions can be the most effective. In our digital age, our eyes are constantly bombarded with pixelated images, tiny text, and bright backlights. Over time, this constant focus on near objects can cause the eye muscles to become fatigued, leading to the symptoms associated with Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS).

20-20-20 rule

By adhering to the 20-20-20 rule, you're essentially giving your eyes a mini workout (and a break), by allowing them to shift focus and relax.Designed to reduce eye fatigue, the rule states that for every 20 minutes of screen time, you should look away at something at least 20 feet (or meters) away for at least 20 seconds. This periodic shift in focus can have many benefits such as:

  • Improved blood circulation in the eyes.
  • Reduces the build-up of eye tension.
  • Provides a much-needed break from the relentless glare of screens.

Think of it as a short, rejuvenating meditation session for your eyes amidst a marathon of screen time.

Optimal Screen Position and Setup

The way you position and set up your screen can have profound effects on your visual comfort. A screen that's too bright can act like a constant light source shining directly into your eyes, while one that's too dim can make you squint, straining the eye muscles. Adjusting the screen to be at arm's length ensures you're not leaning forward or backward, which can lead to postural issues.

Having the top of the screen at or just below eye level means your eyes are in a natural position when looking at the center of the screen. Anti-glare screens are like sunglasses for your monitor that can reduce the external reflections and the harshness of the light emitted, making for a more comfortable viewing experience.

Blinking Regularly

Blinking is the eye's natural way of staying refreshed – think of it like a windshield wiper for the eyes. Each blink spreads tears across the eye's surface, keeping it moist, removing debris, and protecting against irritants. When engrossed in work or an intriguing article, our blink rate can decrease by up to 50%. This reduced rate can lead to dry, irritated eyes and can be especially problematic for contact lens wearers.

By making a conscious effort to blink more often, you're ensuring a healthier eye environment, better lens comfort, and reduced chances of vision disturbances due to dry spots on the eye's surface.

Adjusting Ambient Lighting

Ambient lighting sets the mood of a room, but when it comes to computer use, it plays a more functional role. Lighting that's too bright can create a glare on screens, while too dim can make your eyes work harder. The key is to achieve a balance. Light sources, whether from windows or lamps, should be positioned to the side, rather than directly in front or behind the screen, to prevent glare and backlighting.

Bias lighting, which involves placing a light source behind the screen, can create a soft glow that reduces the contrast between the screen's brightness and the surrounding area, making it gentler on the eyes and reducing strain.

Regular Eye Exams

The eyes, much like any other part of the body, undergo changes over time. These changes can be subtle and might not be immediately noticeable, especially if they occur gradually. This is where the importance of regular eye exams comes into play. For contact lens wearers, the stakes are even higher. Wearing lenses with an outdated prescription can exacerbate eye strain, leading to discomfort and potential complications. Moreover, prolonged screen exposure can accelerate vision changes, making routine check-ups even more essential.

During these exams, optometrists don't just check for prescription changes; they assess the overall health of the eyes. They can detect early signs of conditions like glaucoma, cataracts, or even diabetes. For those experiencing symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS), discussing these with an eye care professional can lead to solutions tailored to individual needs. Whether it's adjusting the prescription, recommending specific lens types, or suggesting lifestyle changes, these professionals can provide expert guidance.

Consider Computer Glasses

In our screen-dominated world, computer glasses have emerged as a solution. While they might seem like just another pair of glasses, their design and purpose set them apart. These glasses are tailored to reduce the strain caused by staring at digital screens for extended periods. Their lenses are optimized for the distance between the eyes and a computer screen, to ensure clear, relaxed vision.

computer blue light blocking eyeglasses

For those who already wear contact lenses, the idea of computer glasses might seem redundant. However, these glasses often come equipped with blue light filters, which can significantly reduce the amount of potentially harmful blue light reaching the eyes. This feature can aid in reducing eye fatigue and may even improve sleep quality, as excessive blue light exposure has been linked to sleep disturbances. For individuals who spend a significant portion of their day in front of screens, wearing computer glasses over contact lenses can provide an added layer of comfort and protection.

Stay Hydrated

Water serves as the fundamental source of life, with its significance encompassing the realm of eye health. For the eyes, hydration plays a pivotal role in tear production. Tears aren't just a response to strong emotions; they're a vital component of eye health. They lubricate, nourish, and protect the eye's surface.

For contact lens wearers, staying hydrated becomes even more critical. Contact lenses rest on a layer of tears on the eye's surface. When the body is dehydrated, tear production can decrease, leading to dry, uncomfortable eyes and lenses that feel scratchy or irritating. Drinking sufficient water ensures that the tear film remains stable, providing a comfortable environment for the lenses and clear vision. In essence, while contact lenses might correct vision, water ensures that the environment they operate in remains optimal.

The Bottom Line

In our increasingly digital world, taking proactive measures to protect our eyes is more important than ever. For contact lens wearers, this means not only choosing the right lenses and caring for them properly, but also adapting habits and environments to support eye health. By integrating these tips into your daily routine, you can enjoy the clarity and convenience of contact lenses without compromising on comfort in the digital age.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can contact lenses be worn for extended periods of time when using a computer?

Yes, it is perfectly sage to wear contact lenses while using a computer, however, it's crucial to follow proper hygiene and blink regularly to prevent dryness and discomfort.

Why do my eyes feel dry or uncomfortable when using a computer with contact lenses?

Extended screen time can reduce the frequency of blinking, leading to dryness. Use lubricating eye drops safe for contact lenses, take short breaks, and practice the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds

Should I consider specific contact lens types for computer use?

Generally, daily disposable lenses or those designed for extended wear are best for extended screen use. It is important to note that certain brands of lenses, like the Biofinity Energys, have technology built in for optimal performance during screen time. Discuss your computer usage habits with your eye care professional to find the most suitable option.

Can contact lens wearers experience digital eye strain or computer vision syndrome?

Yes, contact lens wearers are susceptible to digital eye strain. Proper lens care, regular eye exams, and implementing healthy screen habits are essential to minimize the risk. Speak with your eye care provider about which lenses are available that assist those who have extended screen exposure.

Are there any health tips for contact lens wearers who use computers frequently?

Stay hydrated, maintain a balanced diet rich in eye-friendly nutrients, adjust your screen's brightness and position to reduce glare, and ensure proper lighting in your workspace.

How often should I have my eyes checked if I use contact lenses while working on a computer?

Regular eye exams are essential for contact lens wearers. Typically, annual check-ups are recommended, but consult your eye care professional for personalized guidance based on your specific needs

See Clearly
Alaesha Gaedke
Alaesha Gaedke

Alaesha Gaedke holds a M.B.A. from Franklin University Switzerland, and a B.A. in Public Relations from Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. With her passion for the MedTech industry, her work explores the complexities of medical device technology; bridging the gap between the science behind Medical Devices and the audience for which they're designed for. Her work has been published in regulatory marketing material across Europe and the U.S.

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