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20 VISION: THE YEAR
2020
OF
O ZOOM SEES A RISE
IN
N EYE
E STRAIN ISSUES

You don’t want
to suffer when
there’s no need to...
We really can offer a
lot of help for these
symptoms.
Dr. Katie Loock
SLUCARE OPTOMETRIST

Photo provided by SLUCare Physician Group

Here’s what you can do to relieve symptoms at home
Sponsored content by Lori Rose,
special to SLUCare
During these days of virtual learning and
work-from-home Zoom meetings, issues
stemming from eye strain are an increasingly common complaint. But the good
news is there are measures you can take
at home to relieve symptoms, and the
better news is that no amount of computer use has been linked to blindness.

issue requires medical or surgical interventions, she will refer patients to an
ophthalmologist.
For issues related to computer vision
syndrome — which encompasses a variety of eye and vision-related problems
resulting from prolonged use of computer and other screens — she offers the
following at-home remedies.

20-20-20 PLUS 20

zombie-like and we just forget to blink.
Give your eyes a break and take time to
purposefully blink your eyes a few times.”
If dry eyes continue to be a problem, try
over-the-counter artificial tears.
Finally, stop using devices about an
hour before bedtime. The high-energy
blue light coming from screens tends
to be stimulating to our retinas, telling
us to stay awake. Dr. Loock said the
settings can sometimes be adjusted
to reduce the blue lighting, and many
patients have benefitted from blue lightfiltering eyeglasses.

“Computer vision syndrome is a very real
concern,” said Dr. Katie Loock, a SLUCare optometrist. “It’s impacting all of us.
But I want people to know that despite the
very real symptoms, which are annoying
and painful and disruptive, they are not
leading to irreversible long-term damage.”

The 20-20-20 rule. Dr. Loock explains,
“The rule of thumb is about every 20
minutes, look at least 20 feet away for
about 20 seconds. Take 20 blinks for
good measure. It’s a way to give your
eyes a break to relax the eyes and rewet
the surfaces.”

Still, she cautions that problems associated with eye strain, such as blurred vision, double vision, dry or irritated eyes
and even headaches and neck or back
pain, should not be ignored. If you’ve
tried some of the following recommendations at home without relief, it may be
time for a comprehensive eye exam.

“It actually does help; I use it myself,”
Dr. Loock said. “Parents need to remind
kids to take little breaks and look far
away, too.”

“I do think they can enhance contrasts
while softening the view of the computer,” she said. There are also eyeglass
lenses that provide a boost at the bottom for patients who are not ready for
progressive lenses or bifocals but who
need a little help with magnification
when working at the computer.

Keep the computer screen about arm’s
length or about 25 inches away from
your eyes. It’s best to have your eyes
looking either straight ahead or slightly downward.

Dr. Loock said it’s never too early to
have your child’s vision checked. She
suggests getting a baseline eye exam
for kids before they start kindergarten.

“You don’t want to suffer when there’s no
need to,” Dr. Loock said. “We really can
offer a lot of help for these symptoms.”
Loock, who sees patients at the Center
for Specialized Medicine at 1225 South
Grand, is part of a team of eye specialists at the SLUCare Sight and Sound
Center who work together to see that
your eyes get the care they deserve. As
an optometrist, Dr. Loock is often the
first eye specialist a patient sees. She
may be able to solve your problem with
glasses, contacts or medication. If the

Reduce glare on your computer. Avoid
working by a bright window and place
lamps and task lights in a way that reduces glare. In addition, avoid working in
too bright or too dark conditions, which
make your eyes strain to work harder.
Don’t forget to blink. Blinking regularly
helps keep eyes moisturized. “When we
use a computer we tend to blink much
less,” Dr. Loock said. “We’re just so focused, we tend to kind of stare almost

YOUR CHILD’S EYES

Often, nearsighted students learning in
traditional classrooms are identified because they can’t see the board at the front
of the room, but that’s less obvious these
days when they’re learning at home.
“And farsightedness in kids gets missed
all the time,” she said. “Just because
they can see far away doesn’t mean they
don’t need glasses. And if they can’t see
up close, it’s going to be a real struggle
doing school all online.”

For more information about Dr. Loock and SLUCare optometry and ophthalmology, visit slucare.edu/ophthalmology.

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