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5 Ways to Set Up Your Home Computer to Reduce Eye Strain

Eye Care Associates | Computer Glasses in Flagstaff

Nearly 60% of people who routinely use computers or digital devices experience symptoms of digital eye strain — also called computer vision syndrome — according to recent data. Since COVID-19 began, the number of hours spent on a computer for tasks like working from home, online schooling, and online shopping has increased dramatically.

Symptoms of computer eye strain include eye fatigue and discomfort, dry eye, headaches, blurred vision, neck and shoulder pain, eye twitching, and red eyes.

If your eyes feel dry and tired, your vision is blurry by the end of the day, or your head, neck, and shoulders ache, the way you utilize your computer and other digital devices might be to blame.

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How to Reduce Eye Strain

Spending less time in front of your computer is the best way to reduce digital eye strain, but if you’re working from home or you or your children are learning online, that might not be an option.

Here are 5 steps you can take to lower your risk of eye strain:

1. Use proper lighting

Excessively bright light, either from sunlight or from interior lighting, can cause eye strain.

By reducing exterior light (by closing your drapes, shades or blinds), and tweaking the lighting inside your home (using fewer light bulbs or fluorescent tubes, or lower intensity bulbs and tubes) you can lower glare and reflections off the screen.

Also, if possible, position your computer screen so the windows are to the side, instead of in front or behind it.

2. Blink more often

When staring at a screen, people blink one-third less frequently than they normally do. Blinking moistens your eyes to prevent dryness and irritation.

To reduce your risk of dry eye during computer use, every 20 minutes blink 10 times by closing your eyes very slowly. This will lubricate your eyes and help prevent dry eye.

3. Relax your eyes

Constantly staring at a computer screen can lead to focusing fatigue, which causes digital eye strain. To reduce your risk of tiring your eyes, look away from your computer at least every 20 minutes and gaze at a distant object (at least 20 feet away) for at least 20 seconds.

Some eye doctors call this the “20-20-20 rule.” Looking far away relaxes the focusing lens inside the eye to reduce fatigue.

Eye Care Associates Eye Clinic and digital eye strain, eye health, reduce eye strain , eye exam, Optometrist, Eye doctor, Eye care in Flagstaff, AZ

Many eye diseases can be quickly and easily diagnosed during a comprehensive eye exam. If you were diagnosed with an eye disease, such as Cataracts, Glaucoma, Macular degeneration, Diabetic retinopathy, or Dry eye, you may be overwhelmed by the diagnosis and confused about what happens next. Will you need medications or surgery – now or in the future? Our Flagstaff eye doctor has prepared the following answers to your questions about eye disease.

4. Take frequent breaks

Taking frequent breaks from your screen can help reduce eye strain and neck, back and shoulder pain during your workday.

It is recommended to take at least one 10-minute break every hour. During these breaks, stand up, move about and stretch your arms, legs, back, neck and shoulders to reduce tension and muscle aches.

5. Modify your workstation

Poor posture also contributes to digital eye strain. Adjust your workstation and chair to the correct height so your monitor is not too close to, or too far from your eyes, or in a position that causes you to crane your neck.

Position your computer screen so it’s 20 to 24 inches from your eyes. The center of your screen should be about 10 to 15 degrees below your eyes for comfortable positioning of your head and neck. With this adjustment, you will not only reduce neck, back, and shoulder pain, but reduce eye strain as well.

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People experience different levels of digital eye strain, so if after you have shut down your computer the symptoms persist, then you may have a visual problem that requires attention from your eye doctor. If these symptoms are ignored and nothing is done to alleviate the eye strain the problem will only worsen.

Having a yearly checkup can help you preserve your eye health. Contact Eye Care Associates to learn more about how to keep your eyes healthy and reduce eye strain when working on computers.

Call Eye Care Associates on 928-774-7949 to schedule an eye exam with our Flagstaff optometrist.

Alternatively book an appointment online here CLICK FOR AN APPOINTMENT

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Just in case you missed them, here are some of our previous blog posts :

Eye Exams Are Important Even With 20/20 Vision

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How Can You Tell If Your Baby Has a Vision Problem?

Eye Health Benefits of Eating Pumpkin

Did You Know That 20% of People Sleep With Their Eyes Open?

Flagstaff eye doctor treating eye open during sleep

Ever heard the saying “to sleep with one eye open”? It’s generally used as a metaphor when advising one to stay vigilant. But sleeping with eyes open is a common eye and sleep disorder known as nocturnal lagophthalmos. In fact, the National Sleep Foundation estimates that about 1 in 5 people sleep with their eyes open.

This condition is problematic because it can interfere with sleep and impact eye health. People may not get as much sleep, or sleep as soundly as they’d like, due to the pain and discomfort caused by the eyes drying out during the night.

Nocturnal lagophthalmos generally indicates an underlying medical condition, such as a thyroid problem or an autoimmune disorder. If upon waking you experience irritated, dry, tired, red, or painful eyes, or if you suspect you might be sleeping with your eyes open, speak with Dr. Grimh at Eye Care Associates today.

What Happens When You Sleep With Your Eyes Open?

People who have nocturnal lagophthalmos may not even know they have it. It is difficult to evaluate whether your eyes are closed when you’re actually asleep. However, some important indicators may point to the condition, including:

  • Eyes that feel scratchy, irritated and dry
  • Blurred vision
  • Red eyes
  • Eye pain
  • Tired eyes

For those with nocturnal lagophthalmos, the eye loses the protection of a closed lid and becomes dehydrated, causing the tear layer to evaporate and the eyes to become dry. Nocturnal lagophthalmos also reduces the eye’s ability to discharge contaminants such as dust and debris that fall into the eye during the night. These contaminants can potentially lead to:

  • Eye infections
  • Corneal damage, such as corneal abrasion, sores and ulcers
  • Eye dryness and irritation
  • Poor quality sleep
  • Loss of vision

Why Do We Close Our Eyes to Sleep?

There are several reasons why it’s important to close our eyes while we sleep. Closed eyelids block light, which stimulates the brain to wakefulness.

Closing our eyes also protects and lubricates the eyes while we sleep. If your eyelids don’t close, your eyes become more susceptible to dryness, infections, and debris that can scratch and damage the cornea.

Why do Certain People Sleep With Their Eyes Open?

There are a number of reasons people might sleep with their eyes open. The most common reasons for nocturnal lagophthalmos include:

Problems With Facial Nerves and Muscles

Issues with facial nerves and muscles surrounding the eyelid can cause the lid to remain open during sleep. Weakness in facial nerves can be attributed to several factors.

  • Injury or trauma
  • Stroke
  • Tumor
  • Bell’s palsy, a condition that causes temporary paralysis or weakness of facial muscles.
  • Autoimmune disorders and infections, such as Lyme disease, chickenpox, Guillain-Barre syndrome, mumps, and several others.
  • Moebius syndrome, a rare condition that causes problems with cranial nerves.

Damaged Eyelids

Eyelids can become damaged as a result of surgery, injury or illness, making it difficult to fully close the eyes during sleep. Furthermore, a condition known as floppy eyelid syndrome can also interfere with eye closure, and is often associated with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). OSA is commonly linked to eye diseases like glaucoma and optic neuropathy.

Thyroid-Related Eye Problems

A common symptom of Grave’s disease, a form of hypothyroidism, is protruding eyes. The bulging eyes, known as Graves’ ophthalmopathy, can prevent the eyes from closing.

Genetics

There also tends to be a genetic component to nocturnal lagophthalmos, as it often runs in families. Whatever the cause, the symptoms of nocturnal lagophthalmos are uncomfortable and the consequences can lead to ocular complications.

Can Nocturnal Lagophthalmos Be Treated?

This condition can be treated in several ways, depending on the underlying cause and severity of symptoms. Treatments include:

  • Administering artificial tears throughout the day, providing a film of moisture around the eyes that protects them at night.
  • Wearing an eye mask or goggles to protect the eyes from external debris and visual stimulation. These items are uniquely designed to generate moisture for the eyes while you sleep.
  • Using a humidifier, which provides a moisture-rich environment to prevent your eyes from drying out.
  • Wearing eyelid weights to help keep the eyelids closed.
  • In acute cases, surgery may be recommended.

Make sure to consult your Flagstaff eye doctor before undertaking any of these treatments.

Because nocturnal lagophthalmos sometimes signals an underlying condition, it is especially important to contact Dr. Grimh at Eye Care Associates in Flagstaff for a proper diagnosis and to receive prompt treatment. If nocturnal lagophthalmos is left untreated for an extended period, patients risk seriously damaging their eyes and vision.


At Eye Care Associates, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 928-774-7949 to find out our eye exam appointment availability. or to request an appointment with one of our Flagstaff eye doctors.

Best Eye Hygiene Tips

4 Tips to Prevent Eye Infections | Eye Doctor Near You

What Causes Eye Infections?

Viruses are responsible for many infections, such as the flu, the common cold, conjunctivitis (pink eye) and coronavirus. With the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in full-swing, it’s important to be aware of good hygiene practices, especially for the eyes, as they are a portal for infectious diseases. By implementing the practices below, you can significantly reduce the risk of contracting or transmitting a viral infection.

What Is a Virus?

A virus is a submicroscopic infectious agent that reproduces itself by invading a host cell, replicating its DNA inside it. This infected cell then replicates rapidly, spreading millions of new viral cells throughout the body. Once infected, we feel sick and experience the unpleasant side effects of rising temperature, sore limbs and other symptoms as our immune system recognizes the virus as being foreign and vigorously fights against it.

How Does a Virus Travel Between Organisms?

For a virus to cause disease, it must first enter a body, called a target host. A target host can get infected directly, via infected droplets (such as when kissing), or indirectly, when coming into contact with droplets from a cough, sneeze, or tears left on a surface. Infected droplets enter the body through one of the mucous membranes, such as the eyes, nose or mouth.

Even if the infected person near you shows no symptoms, they can still be contagious. Depending on the virus, it can survive on a surface for some time and can be picked up from a doorknob or an elevator button. This is why practicing good hygiene is an effective way to prevent indirect viral transmission.

4 Crucial Eye Hygiene Practices

By implementing the following hygiene practices, you will better protect yourself and others from viral infection.

1. Routinely wash your hands

We, humans, touch many surfaces throughout the day. If we’re not careful, we can catch an infection, particularly from hard surfaces like plastic and stainless steel.

Viruses can also be picked up while preparing and eating food; using the toilet; or handling an animal. Make sure that you regularly and thoroughly wash your hands, ideally for a minimum of 20 seconds with soap and water, to kill viruses (and bacteria) on the surface of your skin. If soap and water aren’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

2. Keep your hands off your face

Studies show that the average person touches their face up to 23 times per hour, and that the majority of contacts involve the eyes, nose and mouth. Doing so puts you at risk for getting a virus or transmitting the virus to another. Try to be conscious and avoid touching your face whenever possible.

3. Avoid rubbing your eyes

Rubbing your eyes is an instinctual response to tiredness or itchy eyes. It feels great to rub your eyes because doing so stimulates tear production, temporarily relieves itchiness, lubricates the eyes, and removes irritants. However, if your hands are unwashed, rubbing your eyes can put you at risk of contracting an infection, such as conjunctivitis or coronavirus. In fact, conjunctivitis has been linked to respiratory infections like the common cold, the flu, and COVID-19.

4. Use makeup with caution

Given the information provided above regarding infections, the following advice should come as no surprise:

  • Don’t share your makeup with anyone else, whether for eyes, lips or face.
  • Don’t use a cosmetic brush previously used by another when testing makeup products. Instead, request single-use applicators and wands.
  • Don’t use a product past its expiration date.
  • Don’t use the same makeup products after you’ve been sick or have had an eye infection.
  • Don’t share face cloths or face towels with anyone else.
Eye Care Associates at Flagstaff is committed to helping you manage your long-term eye health. From all of us at Eye Care Associates, please stay safe and take care of yourself and your loved ones. Call us today: 928-774-7949 to find out our eye exam appointment availability or to request an appointment with one of our Flagstaff eye doctors.

What does your FEB31st look like?

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Feb31st Unboxing!!!

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Eye Care Associates works to reduce local contact lens waste… By KAITLIN OLSON, Sun Staff Reporter

one by one chris

Photo credit, of Chris McQuivey, OD holding disposable blister packs, goes to Jake Bacon of the Arizona Daily Sun.

Even contact lenses can – and should – be recycled, says Dr. Chris McQuivey of Eye Care Associates.

The local practice has partnered with Bausch and Lomb, a Canadian eye health products company, to become an official ONE by ONE recycling center for contact lenses and their packaging in Flagstaff – one of only two local practices to do so.

Whether thrown away or discarded down a sink or toilet, contact lenses are polluting landfills and waterways because they are too small and durable to be processed by typical recycling facilities. The Bausch and Lomb program allows lens wearers to recycle both lenses and their packaging (blister packs) for free through participating eye care providers or by mail.

Any contact lens wearer, not just patients at the practice, can drop off their old lenses and blister packaging to the Eye Care Associates office during regular business hours. The process is simple: separate the blister foil from the plastic and place both pieces in the green ONE by ONE box, along with any old lenses.

one by one contact

Eye Care Associates has partnered with Bausch and Lomb to become an official ONE by ONE recycling center for contact lenses and blister packaging in Flagstaff. Jake Bacon, Arizona Daily Sun

 

All contact lenses, no matter the type or brand, can be recycled through this program. The cardboard boxes in which the contact lenses arrive should be recycled through local recycling services, not the Bausch and Lomb program. Old lens materials can also be mailed directly from home by printing a free shipping label from the ONE by ONE webpage.

Though small, and nearly imperceptible when worn, contact lenses have produced exponentially more waste throughout the years as they became more disposable. Annual lenses were phased out, and daily disposable lenses became a popular replacement, bringing with them 728 more disposable blister packs per year. OOGP, Eye Care Associates’ contact lens distributer, revealed that 58 percent of the practice’s contact lens sales were daily replacements.

“We probably have 10,000 blister packs just sitting right here,” McQuivey said of the practice’s in-office supply of sample disposable lenses, which include daily, biweekly and monthly varieties.

More and more optometrists are encouraging patients to switch to daily disposables because they are safer, cleaner and overall healthier options for the eye than their longer-term counterparts. The amount of generated waste, though, has been a concern for some of McQuivey’s patients.

This recycling program is designed to combat those concerns. Since the program started in late 2016, Bausch and Lomb reports recycling more than four million lens items totaling over 25,000 pounds. There are currently more than 2,000 participating practices throughout the country; locally, Eye Care Associates is joining Flagstaff Eye Care to offer this service.

McQuivey said, because contact lenses are so small, wearers often do not consider the ramifications of throwing away – or worse, flushing – their old lenses, which often end up in landfills or waterways. The lenses are small enough to be eaten by fish and other wildlife, who are later consumed by humans.

 

one by one recycling

Eye Care Associates has partnered with Bausch and Lomb to become an official ONE by ONE recycling center for contact lenses and blister packaging in Flagstaff. Jake Bacon, Arizona Daily Sun

“It’s nonbiodegradable plastic. It can’t be biodegradable because it’s in your eyeball,” McQuivey said. “They’re too small, they go through all of the separators. And the little foil packs are recyclable, but most municipalities won’t recycle them.”

Bausch and Lomb is working with TerraCycle, a company which specializes in recycling the “non-recyclable.” According to its website, “TerraCycle can collect and recycle almost any form of waste.” This partnership allows the recycling program to be completely free to all consumers and practices.

Once the materials have been collected, TerraCycle will separate the lenses from their blister packs and clean them. The foil is recycled separately, while the lenses and blister packs are melted together to form other products.

“I hope everyone does it,” said Rebecca McQuivey, marketing manager at Eye Care Associates. “It’s a simple way to save on a whole lot of waste that is bad for the environment and for us.”

There is a limit to the number of practices that can participate in the recycling program, based on the quantity of waste that TerraCycle can recycle at one time. Eye Care Associates started earlier this month, after being waitlisted for about month. All interested practices can register online, but are also encouraged to speak with their Bausch and Lomb representative if they would like to participate.

As part of the program, for every shipment of 10 pounds or more from practices and two pounds or more from consumers, Bausch and Lomb will donate $1 per pound of donated materials to Optometry Giving Sight, a nonprofit that provides basic eye care services to people without access to them.

Eye Care Associates is located at 940 N. Switzer Canyon Drive, Suite 101, Flagstaff, AZ, 86001. For more information on contact lens recycling locations, or to print a free shipping label, visit www.BauschRecycles.com.

one by one az daily sun

Eye Care Associates works to reduce local contact lens waste KAITLIN OLSON Sun Staff Reporter

Kaitlin Olson can be reached at the office at kolson@azdailysun.com or by phone at (928) 556-2253.

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As a reminder if you have treatment you have put on hold, now may be a good time to schedule an appointment to maximize your insurance benefits and use any remaining flex account dollars you may have, combined with a BOGO 1/2 off sale. This sale wont be around long, so call us today to schedule your appointment at 928-774-7949!

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