Is your Computer Work Damaging your Eyes?

Computers-and-your-eyes Alan Burrow Optometrists Coffs Harbour
12th September 2023

For years there has been widespread concern among computer operators about possible damage to the eye caused by continually viewing screens.

As a result, many private sector and government organisations regularly screened all computer operators for the potentially harmful effects.

A major concern was the possibility that radiation emitted by the screen could harm the eye structures. Ultraviolet radiation has been implicated in the development of pterygia (the small white “growths” which extend onto the cornea), cataracts and possibly macular degeneration. However, the level of radiation from screens is low and there is currently no evidence that this has any harmful effect. In fact, workers would be exposed to greater levels of ultraviolet light during a lunchtime walk!

On the other hand, complaints of visual discomfort by computer operators are very common. While the images on the computer screen are adjustable and usually of high-quality, they can nevertheless be very stressful visually as the eyes are required to focus and coordinate at a fixed distance for extended periods of time. Because near visual tasks are more demanding, computer users are often encouraged to take “visual breaks” by periodically looking into the distance.

Intense visual concentration can also cause a reduction in the rate of blinking. This can increase evaporation on the surface of the eye, which can in turn cause discomfort. This is most common for operators who have an inadequate tear supply, especially when working in low humidity environments.

Optometrist can now prescribe lenses specifically designed to provide clear comfortable and efficient vision for computer operation.

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