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Computer Vision and Contact Lenses

Should You Wear Contacts While Using a Computer?

people on laptopsComputer Vision Syndrome (CVS) is a common problem that is getting more and more prevalent every day. In fact, our eye doctors regularly treat patients for the irritating symptoms of computer vision in our eye care center in The Woodlands. Also called Digital Eye Strain, this vision condition can cause headaches, blurry vision, dry eye, eye fatigue, and neck and shoulder pain. The severity of your symptoms is typically in proportion with the amount of time you spend gazing at digital screens – computer, e-reader, tablet, smartphone – it doesn’t matter which device, they all contribute to computer vision syndrome.

Why does computer vision happen?

A number of reasons are associated with the development of computer vision. Basically, viewing a digital screen is not the same as reading printed text. Prolonged use of computers places excess stress on your eyes and your body. For example:

  • Contrast between text and background may be weak
  • Font may not be sharp enough
  • Viewing angle of your screen in relation to your chair may cause neck and back strain
  • Rate of blinking is usually less when using a computer, which can lead to dry eyes
  • Blue light, emitted by all digital tech, flickers and causes eye strain and headaches

What is blue light?

Blue light is composed of very short wavelengths on the spectrum of visible light, and the shorter the wavelength – the higher the energy level. Natural blue light is emitted by the sun and artificial blue light can be found in a range of devices, including digital screens, LED lights, and all fluorescent lighting. In sum, you are constantly surrounded by blue light.

One of the visual problems with blue light is that it flickers, which can be very disturbing and place excess strain on your eyes. Also, overexposure to blue light may contribute to the development of eye disease, such as retinal damage and macular degeneration. Blue light is one reason why long hours spent at a computer can put your eyes at risk for digital eyestrain and computer vision syndrome.

Should I wear contact lenses while using my computer?

In general, people blink less when viewing a computer. Some studies estimate that you blink five times less than necessary when using a digital device! Since blinking replenishes your tear film, which keeps your eyes lubricated and clean, less blinking can be problematic. And if you wear contact lenses like bifocal, this can be an even bigger problem, because the contacts may dry out and irritate your eyes. Not only is it painful to wear contacts when you have dry eyes, but it also puts you at a higher risk of scratching your cornea.

If you find that your vision becomes uncomfortable when wearing contact lenses for computer work, you may benefit from changing the type of contacts. Many new materials and technologies are available; visit our eye doctor in The Woodlands for more information about which type of contact lenses will help prevent the eye irritation and dry eyes associated with computer vision.

Another recommended option is to wear specialized computer glasses when you are sitting in front of your computer for more than an hour at a time.

What are computer glasses?

Computer glasses have special lens designs, lens tints and coatings, blue light protection, and different lens powers all intended to maximize your visual clarity and protect your eye health.

In addition, your regular eyeglasses will not always provide sharp vision for computer use. Basically, your vision prescription for general, daily use may not be appropriate for the close-up work you do on the computer. Our eye doctors will provide you with a customized vision prescription for your computer glasses.

We feature a range of high-quality computer glasses at Eye Trends; visit our office in The Woodlands to take a look!

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Dr. Inns is a 1982 graduate of the University of Houston College of Optometry. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Wilfred Laurier University, Canada. During his training at the University of Houston, he held positions in research and was a teaching assistant / laboratory instructor.

Postgraduate work includes therapeutic courses at Pennsylvania College of Optometry and the Optometric Glaucoma Specialist Course at the University of Texas Medical School. Dr. Inns has published in Optometry Today and Optometric Management. He also volunteers at the schools in his area.

Dr. Inns and his wife, Lynn, spend much of their spare time calling and visiting with their four boys.

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Amber Draper, Manager

As the manager of The Woodlands office, Amber Draper leads the team with the focus on patient care and assisting with their ophthalmic needs. Having over 10 years experience, Amber can aid patients with the most appropriate lens technology to match their daily needs. Everyone needs at least one pair of sun wear, especially here in Texas.

Amber is a proud graduate of Sam Houston State University with a BA in History, and a minor in Spanish.

In her spare time, she is with family, friends, and enjoying some Houston Texans Football.

Dr. Toups is a 1984 graduate of the University of Houston College of Optometry. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacy from Northeast Louisiana University.

Being a therapeutically licensed optometrist, Dr. Toups is trained to diagnose and treat ocular conditions. He specializes in contact lenses and he is current with all refractive surgery procedures.

Dr. Toups is married, has five children and has lived in the Houston area since 1980.

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