Thank you, thank you Dr. Feinerman for drawing attention to this issue, which in my opinion is a HUGE contributing factor to the epidemic of dry eye in the young. I'm thinking especially of all the youngsters who were practically born with a device in their hand.
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Do your eyes feel irritated, dry or itchy at the end of the day? Your computer and smart phone may be to blame. Eye doctors say thanks to technology, what used to be a problem for the old is now becoming an epidemic among the young.Particularly appreciated this note... have been doling out this advice for a long time but don't often see it mentioned elsewhere:
An estimated 3.2 million women and 1.7 million men older than 50 suffer from dry eye symptoms each year. Now ophthalmologists say they're seeing a new generation of younger patients walk through their office doors.
"In the past, 90 percent of our patients were over the age of 50 with dry eye symptoms," said Newport Beach ophthalmologist Dr. Gregg Feinerman. "Now 50 percent of our patients are 20- to 30-year-olds."
Experts say these new dry eye cases aren't due to eye disease. but rather addiction to technology.
"People are staring at their iPhones, and their laptops and not blinking, which is causing evaporation of the tear film," said Feinerman. "They're staring at their devices for 12-hour periods and not taking breaks. and that's causing the burning and the tearing and blurry vision."
Doctor Rachel Bishop with the National Eye Institute says even something as simple as the position of your computer monitor could be to blame.And I LOVE seeing attention drawn to the pitfalls of shopping for drops on your own! If you don't already know the dangers of (a) vasoconstrictors and (b) benzalkonium, you CERTAINLY wouldn't learn from the labels - especially now with the masses of 'combo' drops - antihistamine and/or vasoconstrictor which might have something about lubrication on the label, leading you to think it will be OK for someone with dry eye. It's absolutely terrible and an area of labeling where the FDA has badly fallen down on the job.
"I advise them to try to position the computer so it's a little bit lower, their eyes don't have to be open quite so wide to be looking at the screen comfortably," said Bishop.
And if you feel symptoms use artificial tears regularly to lubricate the eyes and reduce discomfort.
"Look for ones that say for lubrication, not other reasons, not looking to get the red out, not looking for allergy symptoms," said Bishop.
While occasional dry eye is probably not serious, more severe cases can lead to complications.
If artificial tears and taking breaks aren't clearing up your symptoms, it may be time to consult your eye doctor.