Breaks and blinks help combat eye fatigue among computer users

Vision health professionals are treating a growing number of people who work all day at computers and who now are experiencing eye fatigue.

The patients’ malady is computer vision syndrome, and there is a health care strategy to combat the problem called 20/20/20: Every 20 minutes, the computer user should take a break for at least 20 seconds and look at objects that are 20 feet away.

Dr. Edward Mendelson of UT Southwestern Medical Center, an optometrist in the Department of Ophthalmology, has added another 20 to the mix. “Give yourself 20 good blinks,” he says. “Blinking is nature’s way of keeping the eyes moist, and those blinks help to lubricate and refresh.”

The American Optometric Association defines computer vision syndrome as “the complex of eye and vision problems related to near work that are experienced during or related to computer use.”

 Dr. Mendelson, whose clinical interests include the study of computer ergonomics, says: “Today’s offices are commonly cool and dry, which is nice and comfortable, except for the eyes. If you use eye drops periodically – and a drop just before you begin is a good way to start – then you can slow some of the drying of the eye that takes place naturally in a cool, dry work environment.”

Visit UTSW Medicine at www.utswmedicine.org/conditions-specialties/eyes to learn more about clinical services in ophthalmology at UT Southwestern.

March is Save Your Vision Month.

Media Contact: Lin Lofley

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