Eye Health Central

Computer Users

What are the best Contact lenses for Computer Users?

Computer UserWhether for work of for pleasure, many people spend hours and hours every day in front of a computer screen. The way human eyes focus on the screen, and the type of light that they emit can have an effect on our eyes over time. For people who wear contact lenses, this effect can be even more drastic. In order to counteract these effects, it's worth considering contact lenses that offer certain features.

The kinds of effects that prolonged use of computer screens can have on the eyes include reduced blink rate, dryness, irritation, redness, eye strain and fatigue, and blurred vision. Anyone that uses a computer for much of the day is going to likely experience one or more of these issues eventually. For those that already are, and are also looking for a way of limiting these effects, consider some of the changes below.

As technology becomes more and more prevalent in our day to day lives, this problem will become unavoidable for many people. For those with vision-related problems, these symptoms may be even worse than they would be other wise, especially for those wearing contact lenses.

First off, many of the issues that our eyes have when staring at a computer monitor stem from blinking, or in this case, a lack thereof. Under normal circumstances, people typically blink once every 5 seconds or so. Blinking is how the eyes replenish tears and keep themselves clean. As the eyelids sweep across the surface of the eye, it spreads a thin film of tears that allow the eye to stay healthy and function properly.

But while using a computer, not only do people blink far less frequently, barely twice a minute, but not as completely, either. The eyelids don't close all the way, and the tear film is not fully replenished across the entire surface of the eye. This alone leads too much of the discomfort associated with prolonged computer use.

Another source of discomfort stems from the muscles around the eyes that allow them to track and focus. The eyes may have to move from side to side to read text or watch a video, but the screen remains at a fixed distance from the eyes, and the focal distance remains the same. Holding this position is very tiring for these muscles, and will become fatigued over time.

To avoid this discomfort, begin by placing the screen at the appropriate level. The top of the display should be just below a level, forward gaze. Looking slightly downward toward the screen is a more relaxed position for the eyes, and will make them less likely to tire.

Also, take momentary breaks every 20 to 30 minutes and focus on something further away, whether it is across the room, or through a window. Flexing the muscles around the eyes is just as important as standing up and stretching after sitting in one position for a while. It allows the muscles to relax, even for a minute or so, and makes them feel refreshed and rejuvenated.

If you can, try to blink more frequently, too. It may sound easy, but it may prove to be more difficult than it sounds. Blinking is such an automatic reflex that doing it consciously can be challenging, especially when it needs to be done so frequently. It may not be possible to remember to blink every 5 seconds, but taking a few long blinks every minute or two will help immensely.

Just like how the eyes need to stay hydrated, so does the rest of the body. Be sure to drink plenty of water, at least 3 or 4 large glasses of water a day.

Poor quality contacts can illicit very similar problems in people with sensitive eyes, so staring at a screen for long periods of time would only make matters worse. Fortunately, there are several types of contact lenses available that can help alleviate these issues to some degree.

Tips for selecting Contact Lenses for Computer Users

If you are a programmer, number cruncher or a professional gamer, hopefully some of these tips will assist you.

Moisture: Look for contact lenses that are designed to keep eyes moist. While using electronic devices, the average person blinks less frequently, as well as less completely, meaning eyes only close part-way. Less blinking means less lubrication, and that leads to dry, irritated eyes. By wearing contact lenses that hold on to moisture, this becomes less of a problem. Those still experiencing dryness after switching contacts may want to consider artificial tears, and making a conscious effort to blink more frequently.

Texture: Some lenses are made to be as smooth as possible. A slicker lens has less friction when moving across the surface of the eye, which will also cause less irritation. Smooth lenses are great for reducing the feeling of tired eyes at the end of the day, which is a common feeling for people that use a computer for a living. Dailies Total One by Alcon has a soft surface gel, for a silky feel, with a silicone middle for 6x the amount of oxygen passing through to your eye.

Permeability: One of the newest developments in contact lens technology is the use of silicone hydrogel. This new material is designed to allow much higher levels of oxygen through the lens, which helps keep eyes feeling fresh. More oxygen reaching the eye also has the added benefit of reducing the risk of infection.

Author: John Dreyer Optometrist Bsc(Hons), MCOPTOM, DipCLP
Created: 4 Sep 2016, Last modified: 28 Mar 2020