Modern Technology and Optometry Modern technology has shaped optometry practice. New tools allow eye doctors to use automated tests to determine one’s field of vision and repair minor retinal blood vessel bleeding before it leads to blindness. Reducing pressure in the eye due to glaucoma is a short fifteen minute procedure, not a long involved procedure. Laser eye surgery treats not only nearsightedness and farsightedness but has evolved to treat some forms of astigmatism, as well. Cataracts are no longer a source of disability, routinely treated via lens replacement.
However, technology has impacted the lives of its users as well – including their eyes.
Eye Strain and Computer Vision Syndrome
Studies of South Korean students linked the amount of time they spent in front of books, televisions and computer screens to their odds of being nearsighted by the time they reached adulthood. Conversely, several hours a day in the sunlight appears to decrease the risk of developing nearsightedness. If you spend several hours a day outside, you should talk to your optometrist about methods to minimize the odds of developing cataracts over time, such as wearing sunglasses or prescription eyeglasses with UV protection.
Many adults report eye strain and blurred vision after hours a day in front of a computer screen. This issue is reduced by taking periodic breaks away from the computer screen, and periodic short walks that take you away from both the computer screen and keyboard reduce your risk of carpal tunnel syndrome as well.
Another option is talking to an optician about getting eyeglasses with anti-glare coatings.
Gaming and 3D
Around a third of the population has reported problems with 3D entertainment and 3D video games. Their problems range from blurred vision, motion sickness, eye strain, fatigue, headaches, dizziness or failing to see the 3D images despite wearing 3D glasses. These issues, when not caused by staring at a screen too long, are a symptom of binocular vision disorder. Binocular vision refers to how well the eyes work together to create a 3D image of the world in your brain. Conditions like strabismus can cause eye strain as the eyes try to stay in alignment until they cannot stay synced; at that point, binocular vision deteriorates and double vision can occur. Strabismus is most common in children but adults can have minor cases of it as well. Binocular vision disorder is more frequently caused by problems with eye focus and eye alignment. Barring lazy eye, this condition isn’t obvious by looking in the mirror and is best diagnosed by an exam by a Calgary optometry practice.
Contact lenses have evolved far beyond the thick lenses that replaced reading glasses. Contact lenses are available to correct for nearsightedness, farsightedness and, in some cases, astigmatism. Contact lenses are available for some people who would otherwise use bifocals.
This is separate from the colored contact lenses that can turn your brown eyes blue use of contact lenses treat lazy eye in place of eye patches. Talk to your optometrist about whether or not you can use contact lenses; they are increasingly a possibility today even if they weren’t an option for you ten years ago. For people who found traditional contact lenses uncomfortable, the flexible gas permeable lenses are more comfortable, and the disposable lenses reduce the long term risk of infection that scared many away from using contact lenses.