Can computer glasses help with 'digital eye strain?'

Wednesday, July 19, 2017 06:45PM
Computer glasses can help with 'digital eye strain' - Registered Nurse Ali Gorman reports during Action News at 5 p.m. on July 19, 2017.

PHILADELPHIA - Designer computer glasses are becoming more popular as people spend more time looking at computer and phone screens.

The glasses claim to help relieve eye strain. But do they work?

About one third of Americans spend up to 8 hours a day looking at a screen.

Ophthalmologists say focusing on anything close up for too long can lead to problems, but there are some solutions.

Ashley Lewis and Troy Bauer work in creative services here at Action News... They spend a lot of time looking at screens.

"I have two monitors at my desk. I am looking at that all day. You know, I'm looking at Twitter, Instagram, Facebook. I'm also looking at my iPhone," said Ashley.

She says by the end of the day, her eyes started feeling sore and dry and sometimes she'd get headaches.

Doctor Mark Pyfer, an ophthalmologist at Wills Eye, says these complaints are common. It's known as digital eye strain.

One cause is concentrating too long on something close up.

"You know our eyes weren't designed to focus at one position for extended periods of time," he said.

And when we focus up close, we blink less... Which leads to dry, uncomfortable eyes.

Ashley and Troy started wearing computer glasses, they're designed to help filter blue light from screens.

Dr. Pyfer says exposure to blue light can disrupt sleep, but there's no evidence it causes eye strain.

For Troy, who has insomnia, he says wearing the glasses has helped.

"I've been not waking up as much in the middle of the night. I've been going to bed faster," he said.

Ashley also noticed a difference.

"So my eyes didn't hurt as bad. I didn't have headaches and that was in May. I've been wearing them every day since and have been feeling so much better," she said.

Dr. Pyfer says there's no harm in wearing the glasses, but if you have eye strain, first get a full eye exam.

And also remember to practice the 20-20-20 rule to give your eyes a break.

"Every 20 minutes of near work, look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds," he suggests.

Most of the computer glasses also have anti-glare effect. Dr. Pyfer says that can be helpful.

He says too much time on the computer won't permanently damage your eyes, but chronic dry eyes can lead to problems. There are many different therapies and it's best to see an ophthalmologist.

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