This is a very common concern for many patients I see, especially during the pandemic. The increase of computer use has gone up dramatically for adults and children. The average time spent on the computer jumped from an average of 4 hours a day to 6 hours a day.
Did you know that your blink rate naturally decreases during reading, computer work, and driving? Therefore the stability and quality of your tears between blinks becomes very important. The quality of your tears is dependent on their stability, condition, and volume. The tears are made up of three layers: the mucus, water, and oil layer. If one of these layers is deficient then you will begin to experience dry eye symptoms. Dry eye symptoms include fluctuation in vision, burning eyes, redness, light sensitivity, sore eyes, heavy eyes, and eye fatigue. The first step in improving your symptoms is monitoring your screen time and taking frequent breaks. A good rule is the 20/20/20 rule, after 20 minutes of reading, take a break and look 20 feet away for 20 seconds. However, if this does not improve your symptoms you may have more significant dry eye. Dry Eye is classified into two categories: aqueous (volume) deficiency and evaporative.
Volume deficiency dry eye is commonly due to dehydration, Rosacea, Sjögren’s disease, allergies, and medications. Evaporative dry eye is caused by having a poor oil layer. The outer oil layer is responsible for protecting the eye by stabilizing the tear film and preventing evaporation. The oil layer is supplied by the Meibomian glands which are found in the upper and lower lids. These oil glands can become blocked resulting in gland loss and dysfunction. If the oil layer is not adequate then your tears will evaporate and become concentrated (increased osmolarity). These concentrated tears will then create inflammation and damage to the surface of your eyes. The treatment for evaporative dry eye consists of improving your oil layer with artificial tear drops, diet modifications, medications, and LipiFlow® (thermal pulsation treatments).
I provide full analysis of your tears during your visit with our Dry Eye Service at CarlinVision. We are able to treat you with the most advanced technology for dry eye, by testing your osmolarity, tear volume, surface inflammation and imaging Meibomian glands. Our location is an Accredited Dry Eye Center and has been performing the LipiFlow® procedure.
If you have been suffering from any of these symptoms, please call 770-979-2020 x246 for more information or to schedule a dry eye evaluation.