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Published On: Sun, Sep 21st, 2014

How computer use affects your vision

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Many of us spend hours in front of a computer screen every day, and that can take a toll on your vision. Generally speaking, viewing objects farther away from us is easier on our eyes; conversely, the muscles in our eyes must work harder to view things at close range. Staring at a computer screen for long periods of time, therefore, can cause you to strain the muscles in your eyes and may result in headaches, blurred vision and eye fatigue.

There are changes you can make that may help relieve many computer-related vision problems, such as improving lighting in the work area, altering the workstation height, taking intermittent breaks, or obtaining prescription glasses for computer use.

Ambient lighting and screen placement

  • You may need to remove or dim overhead lights, and use desk lamps with shades for other deskwork.
  • Natural light from windows should be controlled with blinds or drapes.
  • Reduce reflected glare on your computer screen by placing it so windows and other bright light sources are not directly behind or in front.
  • If you cannot solve glare problems by rearranging the furniture, try hoods that extend above the screen and glare shields that cover the screen. However these devices may interfere with the screen’s character resolution (the lightness or darkness of the type).
  • Tilting the screen also may reduce glare. Glare-reducing computer screen overlays are also available
  • Adjust the contrast (the lightness or darkness of the screen) to a comfortable level using the buttons on the terminal.

Workstation suggestions

  • Position the monitor 24-28 “ from your eyes with the top of the screen at eye level
  • The center of the screen should be about 20 degrees below eye level
  • Place reference materials as close to the monitor as possible. Copy holders are helpful in holding the material in place. By arranging the copy next to the screen, you reduce the need for excessive eye and head movements.
  • Your monitor height should be adjustable.
  • Reference material placed next to screen.

Body posture

  • Your wrists should be in a straight or “neutral” position.
  • Your upper arm and forearm should create a 90-degree angle.
  • Your chair height should be adjustable with good lower back support.
  • Elbow, hip, and knee joints should be as close to 90 degrees as possible.
  • Feet should be flat on the floor or on a footrest.

Work habits

  • Take regular breaks from your computer, such as 2-3 minutes each half-hour and 10-15 minutes every 2 hours.
  • Regularly focus on distant objects. Look out a window or at an object at least 20 feet away to relax the eyes. Maintaining a close focus on the computer monitor can create a focusing spasm.
  • Do simple stretching exercises to relax the whole body.

Prescription glasses

Extended demand on the eyes often causes visual problems. Even small amounts of the following uncorrected conditions may contribute to discomfort when using a computer:

  • Nearsightedness: when eyes see close objects more clearly than distant objects)
  • Astigmatism: when eyes see blurred or imperfect images)
  • Anisometropia: when eyeglass prescriptions are different for each eye.
  • Farsightedness: eyes see distant objects more clearly than close objects.
  • Inefficient teaming of the two eyes: the two eyes don’t coordinate well together.

Consider scheduling an eye exam with your eye doctor to determine if you need computer glasses. These glasses are designed for the specific distance between the eyes and the screen and differ from your driving and reading glasses. Your eye doctor and optician can customize your lens choices to suit your individual environment:

  • Tinted lenses can be helpful if your office uses fluorescent lighting.
  • Single Vision lenses can maximize dedicated glasses area for computer viewing
  • Bifocals for computer use are different from those used for driving and general near tasks. With this specialized bifocal prescription, the top segment of the spectacle is focused for the computer viewing distance, eliminating the wearer’s need to tilt the head up in order to focus on the computer screen. The bottom segment is focused for closer writing or reading distances.

Is thumb and finger sucking normal?

Sucking is a healthy, normal and natural habit for infants. Most babies find comfort from sucking a thumb, finger or a pacifier.

When should I be concerned?

Thumb and finger sucking is not usually a concern until permanent teeth appear, unless some or all of the following factors are present:

Forceful sucking.

Sucking often during the day.

Sucking throughout the night rather than just at bedtime.

Sucking that has caused changes to the position of teeth, mouth or lips.

Sucking along with tongue thrusting and speech difficulties.

What are the dental effects of thumb and finger sucking?

The strong muscle action used for thumb or finger sucking can change the shape of the mouth and the position of the teeth and lips. This can lead to abnormal swallowing patterns, even when thumb or fingers are not present in the mouth.

Repeated sucking after the four front permanent teeth grow in, makes these conditions worse and may require treatment and, in extreme cases, surgery.

If, after the age of four, a child is unable to give up the habit, it is advisable to consult a dental professional.

Tips for parents

Instead of scolding children for sucking, praise them when they are not.

Spend lots of time with your child encouraging other uses of the hands such as puzzles, colouring, anything that will keep their hands busy.

For habit-free days, offer a reward such as special time, a favourite video or activity.

At naptime or bedtime, offer a child a small toy to hold and cuddle to replace the habit.

Pacifiers

Sucking is a normal, natural habit for infants. A pacifier can satisfy this need and help to comfort and relax a baby. However, not all babies require a pacifier. It is better for a baby to suck on a pacifier than on a finger, toy or blanket.

If you are breast-feeding, avoid using a pacifier until breast-feeding is going well, usually after eight weeks. This will help avoid nipple confusion as the sucking action required for breast-feeding and pacifiers is different.

To prevent changes to the shape of a baby’s mouth, it is important to give a baby a pacifier that is soft enough to flatten out against the roof of the baby’s mouth during sucking. Continual use should be discouraged.

When choosing a pacifier, look for one that is orthodontically approved. For safety reasons, one piece designs are recommended. Avoid attaching a string to the pacifier to prevent possible strangulation. Check the pacifier regularly to ensure it is in good condition. Tears, cracks or other signs of wear may make it unsafe for your baby to use.

Avoid coating pacifiers with sugar, honey or any sweet substance as this can cause baby’s teeth to decay. Honey and corn syrup may also contain spores that can cause food poisoning in infants less than one year of age.

                                                                                                                                             www.health.gov.sk.ca

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