Eye Health for Close-Work Workers

Yesterday, I couldn’t get my eyes to focus. I was trying to read something on the computer screen and none of the three lenses on my trifocals would make the print clear for me. If I brought the laptop a few inches from my nose or used the commands to make the print larger, I could see okay, but that didn’t explain why I was having trouble when just the day before my eyes were fine.

Even as a writer — someone who’s supposed to have the ability to express emotions — I don’t think I can explain the depths of my fear. My mother has Macular Degeneration, a condition that ruins all but the peripheral vision (and sometimes even that), and I’ve often wondered what I’d do in the same situation. She was an artist at one time, painting detailed work at close proximity for hours on end. Did that cause her MD? I don’t know, but if detailed work at close proximity for hours on end does cause eye problems — and I believe it does — then I need to pay closer attention to my eyes.

I don’t think I’m much different from a lot of you who read my blog. We spend a lot of time in front of a computer or Kindle screen. I have manuscripts I’m editing, critiquing, reviewing, endorsing, writing — almost my entire life and career are centered around this screen, and when it’s not, I’m reading or cross-stitching another baby quilt. Sometimes I glance outside and am strangely stunned by the depth of three dimensional life.

Yesterday’s scare reminds me that I’m supposed to take care of myself despite the demands on my time. I’m supposed to type with my wrists elevated to prevent CTS, to give myself a break and move around periodically so my blood circulates and my muscles don’t atrophy, and to rest my eyes often to keep scares like that from happening again.

ocuviteOne of the things I’m adding to my list of ought-tos is a supplement for my eyes. MSB was having trouble with his eyes at one point, and his doctor recommended Ocuvite. Of course, he takes the one for folks over 50, but it’s available over the counter for adults of any age.

Soon after I posted my plea for prayers on Facebook yesterday, I remembered he had these (God reminded me?–could be!) and took one. Within 30 minutes, my sight seemed to be restored to normal. Is this a miracle drug? I doubt it. Is it the reason my eyes behaved? I don’t know, since this has happened only once, but I know it didn’t hurt anything.

systaneWhile I’m on the subject of eye health, let me also mention Systane Eye Drops. This is the brand Mom’s doctor recommends for her and it has worked wonders on her dry eyes (hasn’t helped the MD, but it doesn’t claim to). Systane has a line of products of different strengths, from simple drops to the “restorative formula” lubricants. Some feel like you’re plopping healing water into your eyes and others feel like a light gel that coats and protects them. If your eyes are dry and scratchy, this stuff is like magic. If it doesn’t work, then you’d better go to a doctor and get something prescription strength.

You can find both Ocuvite and Systane anywhere over-the-counter drugs are sold.

One word about the Ocuvite, though. It says to take it with a full glass of water at breakfast. Take that seriously. Don’t swallow this pill on an empty stomach, or you’ll be swapping one problem for another. Learn from my mistake.


About Linda W. Yezak

Author/Freelance Editor/Speaker (writing and editing topics).
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10 Responses to Eye Health for Close-Work Workers

  1. gwynnrogers says:

    I totally can relate to your fears and worry about not seeing. Losing any of our functions is scary. I wear hearing aids as I’ve lost over 50% of my hearing. I lost my hearing by the time I was 40. It could be a genetic issue as my dad, grandmother, and great grandmother all lost their hearing… OR it could be because I loved synchronized swimming and spent a great deal of time under water. But not hearing separates me from so MUCH of life… chirps of birds, the whistling wind, my friends, or heck at meetings I lose what is taking place as I can’t hear what everyone is saying.

    Then like you I am on the border of getting glaucoma. I don’t have it, but I DON”T NOT have it either. For me, Systane Balance works better for me. Also, for a while I was on prescribed eye drops but they were not changing my vision. I wonder at times what it was like to be Helen Keller.

    For years I did handcrafts, but due to my lack of hearing and vision I had to stop. I totally relate to your fear of not being able to write. It IS critical to take care of yourself! OR… since my husband did such a terrible job of taking care of himself over the years as he is a Type A personality… you can end up with extremely serious health conditions as my husband did. Now, I’m also a caregiver. REMEMBER to take great care of your body and mind!! Great post and reminder!


    • Thanks so much for sharing, Gywnn. I hope the glaucoma never develops. I don’t have it (thank You, Lord!), but have friends who do. Sounds downright awful. There isn’t too much I’m more afraid of than losing my sight.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That is a scary event! Given your mother’s history, I would have been in a state of near panic too. Our sight is a precious gift! Glad your eyes settled back down to normal.

    I have occasional searing pain in my eyes. My ophthalmologist said it is from overly dry corneas, a natural part of aging. He recommended flax seed oil capsules. They work! I haven’t had any discomfort as long as I remember to take the supplement.

    You are smart to take precautions. As you said, they certainly won’t hurt you, and might just be the prevention that saves your eyesight.


  3. This is scary! So glad to hear your eyes are doing better today. These are all good reminders.


  4. Linda M Au says:

    You’re singing my song here, Linda! I’ve been doing proofreading (detail work!) and onscreen computer work since the 1980s, and I’ve developed chronic dry eye and sometimes suffer from ocular rosacea. My wonderful eye doctor pinpointed the issues for me and also recommended Systane. Now I keep little bottles of the stuff at every computer and desk, and also carry some in my purse at all times.

    After using it faithfully for about a month or two, I had a re-check to see how it was working. My eye doctor said I’d gone from a 4 out of 10 (which is bad) up to a 9 out of 10, simply by using the Systane. And I gotta admit, my eyes feel a LOT better when I am using it regularly (at least 4-5 times a day, but sometimes more).

    The ocular rosacea required an expensive prescription, but I needed it only once, for a few weeks, and I haven’t had a recurrence since then. She figured this diagnosis out because I have rosacea of the skin (which is clearly obvious upon meeting me), and she said the two types of flare-ups often happen simultaneously.

    NOW… let me mention what she said to me about the inability to focus (which happened to me too). I told her if I sat reading for too long (meaning, close-up focusing), and then tried to get in the car to drive, even with my distance glasses on, I couldn’t focus and everything was blurry for at least ten minutes. It was frightening.

    She said that, as we age, the muscles that help our eyes adapt from close-up focusing to distance focusing can get a little lazy and it takes time to go from very close work to big distance focusing.

    I hope that helps alleviate some of the fear about that particular symptom. Check with your own eye doctor to see if he or she confirms what mine told me. She’s been spot-on with everything else she’s told me and helped me, and this kinda rang true when she said it.

    Great post. 🙂


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