Computer Eye Strain; What Is It?
Computer eye strain is caused when you overuse your eyes and they become fatigued. Eye strain can occur when looking at a computer screen, or other device, for too long. Normally resting your eyes can help relieve the symptoms of computer eye strain. Symptoms of computer eye strain can include; headaches, difficulty focusing, dry eyes, watery eyes, eye discomfort, blurred vision, itchy eyes, and tired eyes.
Computer Eye Strain; How Does It Cause Meibomian Gland Dysfunction?
The meibomian glands are the tiny glands on the lower and upper eyelid margins that secrete oil, which when we blink, protection the surface of the eye. This oil helps keep the water element of your tears from drying out too quickly. Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) is a very common type of dry eye disease where the meibomian glands do not secrete enough oil or the quality of the oil is not good. Normally in MGD the glands get blocked and very little oil, if any, can get out and this causes the eye symptoms. Computer eye strain can cause MGD due to a reduction in blinking. Most people when using a computer or similar device do not blink as often as they should, this can be up to 60% less blinking than when not looking at a computer. If your blink rate is reduced, the oils will not be secreted as often which means the watery element in your tears evaporates quicker, drying out your eyes. Overtime this can cause the glands to block leading to meibomian gland dysfunction.
Treatment for Meibomian Gland Dysfunction
There are many different types of treatment that can help MGD sufferers and what suits one person may not suit another. If MGD has been linked to computer eye strain, then looking at the way you use a computer is a good place to start. Trying to reduce the time in front of a computer can be difficult, especially if you use a computer for work, but remembering to blink and keeping hydrated will help. Also try to follow the 20-20-20 rule; every 20 minutes’ look 20 feet away from your screen for 20 seconds. MGD sufferers will likely need to combine this with other ‘at home’ treatments, such as heated eye masks, eye lid massaging, artificial tear drops, taking omega 3 supplements, and possibly taking other medication. There are other treatments that can be offered with an ophthalmologist or eye clinic that have great results in helping with MGD when used in conjunction with the ‘at home’ treatments;
· E-Eye Intense Regulated Pulsed Light (IRPL) – The E-Eye device creates polychromatic pulsed light using the new IRPL (intense regulated pulsed light) technology. The E-Eye releases a flash of light that is made up of a pulse train, which is flashed on the treatment area (cheekbone and temple area around the eye). Within this treatment area nerve branches are located and these nerve branches are connected to meibomian gland nerves. When these nerve branches are flashed with the E-Eye (IRPL) it causes a stimulatory response within the meibomian glands and they start to resume secretion of the normal oil layer again and symptoms of eye dryness will disappear. Accordingly, it will be effective in 80% of patients affected by dry eye disease. From a single flash of IRPL it is possible to produce sub-flashes of varying intensities, this offers unparalleled therapeutic potentials, especially with the treatment of MGD, which is impossible with conventional IPL. The E-Eye emits a ‘cold light’ and it is non-invasive, totally painless, and entirely harmless to the eyeball.
· MiBo Thermoflo – this is a therapeutic treatment to help relieve the suffering of MGD. MiBo Thermoflo works by gently heating and massaging the outer eye lids. MiBo Thermoflo delivers continuous controlled heat to the outer eye lid skin combined with ultrasound gel for a gentle massage. As the heat is deeply absorbed into the tissue it breaks down hardened oils in the meibomian glands. With a prescribed therapy plan the meibomian glands will release thinner and clearer oils which makes for a healthier tear film. MiBo Thermoflo is followed by gentle manual expression of the meibomian glands.