While we sit at the computer and debate the relative merits of the latest gaming challenge, text our friends and check our emails our bums are not getting a workout but our eyes sure are.
Picture yourself doing a wall sit for 60 seconds. Sounds easy right? I recently parked my patoot against the wall and made it about 28 seconds before I slid down in a jelly bean heap on the floor. Certainly a commentary on my fitness level. (I have worked my way up to 38 seconds).
Did you know that doing close up work is doing the SAME amount of strain to your eye muscles as those wall sits? Would you be able to hold a squat for hours on end?
What would happen when you tried to stand up?
Odds are you would stagger around a little, perhaps be quite stiff afterward.
The cold reality is that our ocular muscles just ain't prepared for that kind of workout.
Biology vs. Technology: There is a biological truth that our near vision gets to be pretty skimpy around the age of 40. Why is this? Because since you were BORN your focal distance has been growing at the rate of about an inch per year from the end of your nose. It stands to reason then, that by age 40ish, you have reached your fingertips. This is why most people need reading glasses to shorten that focal distance back to a more comfortable range. News flash, wearing reading glasses on the end of your nose doesn't make you look younger. Give in gracefully to a no-line bifocal and fool us all.
Technology on the other hand is a MUCH murkier issue. How much time are you spending looking up close? How close is close?
How big is your monitor? One monitor or two...?
To answer those questions, look at the statistics in the Vision Council Report below. Roughly 1/3 of people spend 3-5 hours a day looking at near items like computers and smart phones. Another 1/3 spend 3-6 hours looking close up.
But don't worry, we have a solution for that!
As usual, the market has responded to the demand for lenses that accomodate our lifestyle. Lens manufacturers are creating lenses that are tailored to the needs of near and intermediate vision. Anti-reflective coatings have been developed to filter out uncomfortable blue light, and even people who don't NEED help up close can get lenses which help "relax" the eye muscle. Ask your Optician about these new products and TAKE ADVANTAGE of them! Leave comments if you need names of specific lenses and I will help you.
Lastly, remember to take a break every half hour or so and focus far away from you! Use wetting drops regularly (not the get-the-red-out kind), and make sure you are using good posture and ergonomics on your computer.