Contact Lenses

Digital Eye Fatigue: Help CL Patients Achieve All-Day Comfort

By Ellie W. Hattori, OD

February 11, 2015

SYNOPSIS

Eye fatigue from digital devices is especially common with contact lens wear. Learn simple remedies to improve CL comfort all day long.

ACTION POINTS

ASK ABOUT COMPUTER USE. On both registration form and in exam room, ask about how many hours are spent in front of devices and about total contact lens comfort.

PRESCRIBE MULTIFOCALS. Eye discomfort can be a sign of eye strain due to presbyopia. The right multifocal can sustain comfort to the end of the work day.

PRESCRIBE AR PLANOS. Planos with anti-reflective treatment worn over contact lenses can help make computer and digital device work more comfortable.

Many of my patients spend their whole work or school day in front of a computer or another digital device like a tablet. This causes digital eye fatigue, and in contact lenses wearers, especially, itcan result in dry and uncomfortableeyes. Fortunately, we canwork with thosepatients to helpthem achieve all-day comfort.

Editor’s Note: Click HERE to learn more about digital eye fatigue from The Vision Council’s 2014 Digital Eye Strain Report.

Ask About Computer Use on Patient Registration Form

We ask on our patient registration form: “Do you spend more than four hours a day at the computer?” If their response is “yes,” we take this into consideration when wediscuss their glasses and contact lens options. It is not uncommon for our patients to say that their contact lenses are not as comfortable, or their vision is not as good, toward the end of the day.

Ask Patient in Exam Room About CL Wear & Care & Work Habits

I ask patients how often they change their lenses. Ihave them tell me what cleaning solution they are using and also how they are doing it. I ask if they are using any eye drops, and, if so, when and how often.I also ask about their work environment and work station.

The contact lens room in Dr. Hattori’s office, where contact lens supplies are kept, and where patients can try on new lenses. Dr. Hattori says sometimes a contact lens with more advanced materials, like a higher water gradient or greater oxygen permeability, can make a big difference in enhancing end-of-day comfort.

Offer Contact Lens Fix to End-of-Day Discomfort

We are fortunate today that we have so many contact lens materials and solutions to select from. Contact lens manufacturers have given us lens materials that have different compositions and coatings which can help the lens to maintain their comfort for extended hours.

We also now have reformulated cleaning solutions that will keep the lenses more moist and reduce the accumulation of debris. These options mean I can try many different contact lenses, such as those with more oxygen permeability, and new cleaning solutions, with patients in an effort to keep their eyes comfortable all day.

I may now offer to patients a lens with the unique water gradient feature. Patients have reported less eye fatigue because the lasting lubricity in this lens takes away the dry, gritty feeling they previously experienced at the end of the day.

Teach 20-20-20 Rule

I teach all my patients, including contact lens wearers, the 20-20-20 rule, meaning every 20 minutes take a 20-second break and look at something 20 feet away. The 20/20/20 rule works, and is easy to remember.

I also sometimes recommend the 15/15/15 rule having patients look at something 15 feet away for 15 seconds every 15 minutes four times an hour. Whichever rule the patient can most easily make a habit of doing is what I recommend.

Teach Helpful Ergonomics

It is important that we are viewing our computers screens at least five degrees down, and not straight ahead, or in a position that forces us to look up at it. Looking down allows our eyes to blink more naturally and frequently.

Teach Impact of Right Lighting & Font Size

I tell my patients that if we can think of our computer monitors as TV screens, and duplicate those lighting conditions, we will find our eyes more relaxed. Most office overhead lighting and computer screens are too bright. The ideal font size is one that you can read comfortably at without needing to lean forward.

Checklist for All-Day Comfort Treatment Plan

Examine CL material. Changing lenses could make a difference.

Examine environment.Is ittoo dry at home and work?

Examine behavior. Blinking often enough? Using comfortdrops?

Prescribe Multifocal Contact Lenses

Early presbyopia can definitely contribute to eye strain, but insufficient accommodation may also. Prescribing a low plus power lens may be helpful in some situations, and multifocal contact lenses also can be a great option.

Couple Right CLs with Right Glasses

Sometimes a pair of plano computer glasses with anti-reflective treatment and special tint over the contact lenses can be helpful. Today’s blue-blocking, anti-reflective lens treatments are highly recommended for all computer glasses. These lenses not only take away the glare from digital screens, but also protect your eyes from harmful blue light.

Ellie W. Hattori, OD, is co-owner of Hattori Vision Optometry in Monterey, Calif. To contact her: drellie@hattorivision.com

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