Jennifer's Journal


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Not a Dry Eye in the House

You sit at your computer where you’ve been all day—or half the night. Your eyes are stinging or burning. As you rub them, you think: Eyestrain—I really should look away from the screen more often. Or maybe you fear your eyesight is failing and you’ll soon need glasses or stronger lenses. You could be right on either count--but the most likely culprit is something called dry eye syndrome.

On the last visit to my optometrist, he asked if my eyes ever itched or burned while writing; it seems he’d noticed redness. The most likely trouble, he said, was a common one for those who work with computers on a daily basis, particularly writers who enter deep concentration mode. As we sit thinking, deep in our stories, our blink rate slows to near nothing. Blinking is the mechanism which spreads moisture from special glands around eyes, sweeping it over the surfaces of our eyeballs. Failure to blink means a lack of moisture to keep the eyes from drying out, therefore, dry eyes—eyes so parched they itch and burn.

So what’s the solution? Before beginning work each day, he said, and any time you feel eye discomfort, apply a drop or two of over-the-counter eye moisturizer, or artificial teardrops, to each eye. Your eyes will feel better, and you'll be able to work longer.

Other causes for dry eye syndrome do exist. For more information see:

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