Did You Know:  Staring At Screens Disrupts The Natural Tear Distribution On Your Eyes Surface

There are a number of things that happen while you spend your time focused on a computer screen.  The biggest of which we already discussed a few times – excessive, ‘locked up’ position of your ciliary muscle.

This, of course we are already working on, with:

  1. Frequent breaks, and
  2. Varying focus (focus push exercise, differential prescription).

At this juncture, you are actually doing quite a bit of exercise while focused up close.  Keeping this up, paired with taking breaks, will be yielding strong results.

Now we need to touch on another issue with close-up, especially on screens:

The rate at which your eyes blink tends to slow down significantly.

About 15 times per minute is normal, but generally while focused up close, your blink rate may go as low as six or seven times per minute.  This is true also for reading books, though not uncommonly to a slightly lesser extent.  The more involved you are at with taking in new information, the lower the blink rate tends to become.

This isn’t much of a problem, unless we are taking hours of uninterrupted consumption, up close.  In this case your eyes will become more dry than they should be, as the blinking mechanism delivers necessary lubrication.  If this is the case consistently (especially in air conditioned / dry air conditions), the eye can become irritated and a dry eye condition may even become cronic.

Squinting also decreases blink rate – we already know about avoiding squinting as much as possible. Ensuring that the screen is not set to excessive brightness is a good idea (change it, if possible, just to compare), while also not too low (which makes content more difficult to read, creating more strain).

In our case, if you are partaking in breaks from close-up focus, above should be no concern – yet another reason to keep breaks built into your close-up time!

We are just a few days away from the big leap, our first prescription revision.  I hope you are enjoying the process so far.

Action Items

Do you have issues with dry eyes?

Be aware that working in an air conditioned environment, paired with long hours without breaks from the screen may be a large contributor to dry eyes.

Taking breaks will help.

Not wearing contact lenses for close-up can help a LOT.  (high myopia, there is the question of the trade-off – feel free to ask me in the forum)

Getting outside for your breaks, more humid air in a lot of places, can hep.

Increased blink rate while not staring at a screen or page, really helps.

Dry eyes makes your eyesight appear worse, as the tear fluid is naturally part of the “calibrated” vision.  You may notice that when you have less dry eyes, your centimeter is better.  Or that when you blink and you have some tear fluid moving around, your vision varies quite a bit.  As part of the program we’ll address some of the dry eye issues (above, an important start).  You’ll also notice that the active focus work promotes more tear fluid.  Normal part of the experience!

As always, if you have any questions at all, drop a line in the forum.  Don’t be all quiet and guessing, I’m checking on you every day.  Just post anytime, it might help!


– Jake

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