Marguerite McDonald, MD, is credited with performing the world’s first LASER eye surgery in 1981. Today, Dr. McDonald is internationally famous and dedicated to eye health education. She was interviewed on the Sharon Kleyne Hour radio talk show (www.modavox/worldtalkradio.com) on October 15, 2007.
Sharon: Do you have any recommendations about vision and computers?
Marguerite: Yes! The average blink rate for your eyes is 20-30 times per minute. When working at a computer, the rate drops to 3-5 times per minute. This can cause situational dry eye even if your vision is perfect.
S: Have you encountered computer vision syndrome in your practice?
M: Frequently. Symptoms are drowsiness, eyes that burn or itch, and blurred vision. Fluctuating vision is also a symptom, where you strain and blink to pull your vision into focus.
S: Have you been approached by companies who have many computer operators?
M: A few times. My primary recommendation is that they move the desk chair up or the computer down so there is a 15-20 degree angle between the eye and the screen, with the screen lower. That way, eyelids are partially closed when viewing the screen. I also recommend taking a break every 45 minutes, preferably spent looking at far objects.
S: Could you go over the symptoms of dry eye again?
M: Redness, fluctuating vision, slight itching, drowsiness, the need to press down on your eyelids. Excessive tearing can also be a symptom. Eyes are usually OK in the morning but as they get dryer during the day, tiny ulcerations develop on the cornea, which causes reflex tearing. The tearing often goes away after ten minutes. Reflex tears protect eyes from infection and improve vision but it is far better if your regular baseline tears do this.