Common Q&A for Adults' Eye Care

Questions:

1. How often should adults have eye examination?

2. How often should older people have eye examination?

3. How to make computer use easier on your eyes?

Answers:

1. How often should adults have eye examination?

Most of the professions nowadays place a high demand on our eyes. For instance, working on computers or reading make your eyes work a lot and can quickly tire your eyes. However, with routine eye examination, correct eye glasses or contact lens, we can avoid a lot of eye strain, headache, and prevent deterioration of our eyes and a lot of eye diseases.

According to The American Optometric Guideline, adults between 20 to 39 yrs old should have eye exam every one to two years. After 39 years old, the crystalline lens of our eyes lose their flexibility, which makes it difficult for focusing on close objects, this condition is called presbyopia. To help you to compensate for presbyopia and to keep good eye health, you should treat its progression with corrective glasses or contact lenses. Since the effects of presbyopia continue to change the ability of the crystalline lens to focus properly, periodic changes in your eye wear may be necessary to maintain clear and comfortable vision. According to American Optometric Guideline, adults of 40 years or older should have eye exam every year.

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2. How often should older people have eye examination?

Proper eye care is critical for older population. Cataract, Age-Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD), glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, hypertensive retinopathy are the most common seen eye diseases in the older population, and a lot of these eye diseases are asymptomatic. Early detection and proper eye care can slow down the progression of cataract and ARMD, and prevent losing vision. Elders should have eye exam every half year or one year. If you have eye disease, your eyes should be checked more frequently.

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3. How to make computer use easier on your eyes?

Some computer users complain about headaches, dry eyes, blurred vision and other symptoms of eyestrain. According to the American Optometric Association, although there is no evidence that using a computer causes vision problems, it can cause Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS). The association offers the following suggestions to eliminate CVS:

  • Do a thorough eye exam every year to make sure your vision is properly corrected. Even if you don't need glasses for driving or reading, you still may have a minor vision problem that can be aggravated by computer use. You may need a mild prescription to wear only on the job to reduce vision stress.
  • Take alternative task breaks throughout the day. Make phone calls or photocopies, talk with co-workers. Do anything that doesn't require your eyes to focus on something up close.
  • Reduce room lighting to half normal office levels. An easy way to do this is to remove half the bulbs from ceiling fixtures. Use desk laps for tasks that require more light.
  • Minimize glare on your computer screen with a glare reduction filter (look for one with the American Optometric Association's Seal of Acceptance); by repositioning your screen; and by using drapes, shades, or blinds. You can also ask your optometrist about eyeglasses lens tints and coatings that can reduce glare.
  • Use an adjustable copy holder to place reference material at the same distance from your eyes as your computer screen and as close to the screen as possible. Your eyes won't have to keep changing focus when looking from one to the other and your won't have to keep moving your head or eyes back and forth.
  • Adjust your work area and your computer for your comfort. Most people prefer a work surface height of about 26 inches for computer use. Desks and tables are usually 29 inches high. Place your computer screen 16 to 30 inches from your eyes. The top of the screen should be slightly below horizontal eye level. Tilt the top of the screen away from you at a 10 to 20 degree angle.
  • Be sure your glasses meet the demands of your job. If you wear glasses for distance vision, reading, or both, they may not give you the most efficient vision for viewing your computer screen, which is about 20 to 30 inches from your eyes. Tell your optometrist about your job tasks and measure your on-the-job seeing distances.

Following these steps can enhance a person's comfort and productivity when using a computer, the Association says.

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