Anyone who spends a significant amount of time in front of a computer screen or reads for hours, or drives long distances, can suffer from eye strain.
Eye strain is caused when you constantly focus and re-focus while you work at a computer screen without regular breaks. It happens when you overuse your eyes and put strain on the important eye muscles.
In addition to feeling tired after looking at a computer screen for too long, you may experience dryness or redness in your eyes, headaches, or even blurred or double vision.
Prevent these symptoms and treating them when they occur in order to work more productively, and in greater comfort, is one of the reasons Dr Agarwal’s Eye hospital conducted a free eye screening camp at The Observer in Kamwokya last week, February 8.
“We do eye screening for mainly corporate organisations like The Observer because most of their staff spend a lot of time on the computer reading and writing and this strains their eyes,” Shifah Nambatya, the camp coordinator said.
She said other people get problems with their eyes due to aging process and they can’t see properly especially when objects are far from them.
During the Observer camp, 35 people were screened, out of which 17 were advised to start using protective glasses because their eyes had been strained due to the use of computer. Thirteen had refractive errors or eye defects while five had eye complications and were referred to hospital for more checkups.
“Protective glasses help people to protect their eyes from direct [computer glare], to avoid straining them. However people are advised to remove these glasses when they are not using the computer,” Nambatya said.
Nambatya said that during the eye camps, they access your vision to know if it has a problem by asking you to read charts placed at a distance, followed by an eye machine test.
“Eye screening helps people to detect eye problems earlier since some eye diseases are undetected in early stages like glaucoma, where people lose vision slowly until total black out,” she said.
She advised people 40 years and above to check their eyes in the hospital at least twice a year to avoid diseases that can cause blindness.
“I advise people to use such opportunities like camps when they come to your organisations since in the hospital, patients pay Shs 25,000 for consultation, screening and detailed checkups,” Sam Kirabo, the business development executive at Dr Agarwal said.
They have organized similar camps at New Vision, NBS, Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development and UNCEF among others.
Other services which were offered at the camp included checking blood pressure, weight measuring and giving free advice on lifestyle changes.
Dr Christine Laker, the optrist at Agarwal hospital, advised people to always eat foods like vegetables and fruits and to always use protective glasses like sunglasses when moving in very bright sunshine.
“Also avoid being closer or spending much time on computer and TV screen or tablet. Always do eye checkup at least once a year even if you don’t feel any problem,” she said.
Laker advised people who don’t want to use glasses to use contact lenses or go for refractive surgery.
“But in Uganda, contact lenses are difficult to maintain due to dust since you have to remove them and wash them every after three months. And surgery is also expensive,” she said.
Laker also advised people experiencing eye strain caused by computers, to take a break from the screen until the symptoms subside.
Laker advised people to clean their computer screens regularly which keeps it free from smudges and fingerprints, which can also place strain on the eyes.
“Additionally, you should ensure that your computer screen is positioned comfortably - just a little bit below eye level is best. A flexible screen and an adjustable desk chair will help you get the right balance. Anti-glare screen guards can help to minimise the amount of light that is reflected off your computer,” she said.