Eye Diseases

Computer Fatigue Syndrome – CFS

RECOVERY PLAN

Myths: Computers do not harm your eyes.

Facts: Computers are the number 1 cause of eyestrain.

Overview:

According to information published on November 19, 1999, “Computer vision syndrome (CVS), defined as a complex of eye and vision problems that are experienced during and related to computer use, is a repetitive strain disorder that appears to be growing rapidly, with some studies estimating that 90 percent of the 70 million U.S. workers using computers for more than 3 hours per day experience it (CVS) in some form.”

The use of computers in the western world is growing exponentially. The amount of time one spends looking at a computer screen is also increasing similarly. Humans evolved biologically as “hunters and gatherers”. Our vision developed primarily for seeing distance (98% of all humans are born farsighted). Our eye muscle systems are in their most relaxed state when we use our vision for distance objects and space. In similar fashion, our bodies were designed for movement. Maintaining a sitting posture for long periods of time is unnatural for us.

As a result, working at a computer for a long period of time without breaks can cause unnatural strain on us that can result in a condition called “computer fatigue syndrome”. Computer users have shown to have a reduced average blinking time while using computers, which, according to Japanese investigators, causes a major risk of developing transient, or short-term dry eyes.

Over a period of time, excessive computer use can have cumulative negative effects on the user including the worsening of farsightedness, nearsightedness, astigmatism, eye-focusing disorders and poor eye coordination. In addition, constant working from a set position can cause neck and shoulder stiffness, as well as stress headaches, which can then cause pain in the jaw (referred to TMJ or temporomandibular joint).

Symptoms:

-Eyestrain
-Blurred vision
-Dizziness or nausea
-Headaches
-Change in colour perception
-Increase in nearsightedness
-Red, dry or burning eyes
-Slow refocusing
-Excessive fatigue
-Neck, shoulder and back pain
-Eye-teaming problems and/or occasional double vision

Causes:

-Extending short distance focusing
-Reduced average blinking time
-Poor lighting
-Poor Posture
-Excessive glare
-Starchy Diet (see Starch Study)

Conventional Treatment:

-Aspirin
-Stronger glasses

Complementary Treatment:

The Recovery Plan is essential to alleviate this problem.

Self Help:

There are a number of simple things you can do to help protect your vision when using computers, including the following:

  • Set up your computer correctly. The proper viewing distance is 20-24 inches. The correct viewing angle is 10 to 20 degrees from the mid-screen to the top of the screen.
  • Use a good monitor. Usually the higher the resolution (the more pixels) the better. Monochrome displays usually have better resolution than colour. For colour monitors, look for smaller dots per inch (less than .28mm). Higher refresh rates (flicker speeds) are preferred, at least 70 Hz. Make sure the monitor has a high enough illumination to match the surroundings (be aware that antireflection screens reduce illumination).
  • Do eye exercises every 30 minutes.
  • Use proper posture. This includes a tucked in chin, slight curve at the neck rather than a forward head and neck, a straight upper back with only a slight roundedness, and hollow in the low back.
  • Make sure overall illumination of the room is no more than three times brighter than the screen
  • Adjust screen brightness and contrast properly.
  • Use a desk lamp if possible instead of an overhead light.
  • Control glare from overhead lights and uncurtained windows. Use an anti-glare screen, or move your terminal to an area of limited glare.
  • Keep your wrists relatively straight while typing to avoid carpel tunnel syndrome. Wrist support pads can be very helpful.
  • If you work in a cubicle, try to give it a feeling of more expansiveness by, for example, placing a mirror on one of the walls to create the illusion of more space and changing the viewing distance.

 

Macular Degeneration – Wet/Dry (ARMD)

RECOVERY PLAN

What is the Macula?

At the back of the eye is a layer of light sensitive tissue called the retina. The macula is found at the centre of the retina where the incoming rays of light are focused. The macula is very important and responsible for:

1) What we see straight in front of us

2) The vision needed for detailed activities such as reading and writing

3) Our ability to see colour.

What is Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)?

Sometimes the delicate cells of the macula become damaged and stop working. Almost certainly it is some sort of nutritional deficiency that can happen at any age, although it tends to happen, as people get older and is referred to as age-related macular degeneration.

AMD is the most common cause of poor sight among people over 60 but while it never leads to 100% complete sight loss, it may result in only 5% peripheral or side vision will remaining undamaged. There are two different types of AMD:

  • Dry AMD: Around 90 per cent of people diagnosed with AMD have the dry type. It occurs when the cells of the macular become malnourished and start to waste away meaning that these cells can no longer function properly. Dry AMD is also called non-exudative AMD.
  • Wet AMD: this is less common (10 per cent of cases) and occurs when tiny new blood vessels grow between the retina and the back of the eye when blood flow is failing again from some sort of malnourishment or cardiovascular diseases. These blood vessels leak and bleed as they grow causing scarring of the macula. Wet AMD is also known as exudative or disciform degeneration.

Rather than being technical (you can learn all the technicalities from a medical book), it is more useful to describe the symptoms you may experience. Early signs include:

  • Blurred vision with close work
  • Seeing straight lines as wavy (doorways appear as a figure of eight)
  • Your sight degrades as you look straight at print or faces
  • A black hole (starts grey and goes steadily blacker) may form in the centre of your vision
  • Sensitivity to bright light and night vision
  • You can only adapt very slowly from light to dark
  • Eventually you may only have a small amount of peripheral vision.

You will need a good consultation with an eye doctor to identify precisely what is wrong. BUT, most Doctors do not believe anything can be done. You are going to need to take your own health in your own hands. Eyesight Action will help your eye health recovery.

What treatment is available for AMD?

Dry AMD

Although there is currently no medical treatment available for dry AMD, you can be helped to see well with nutritional supplements and stimulation of points around the eye with micro-current stimulation. Some doctors already will offer or refer you to this although the majority while not offering any treatment themselves do not.

Wet AMD

People with wet AMD can also be helped to see well with the same nutritional and micro-current stimulation program. There is also some laser treatment available for wet AMD, however it is not suitable for use in the majority of cases and can leave you permanently worse off. The laser should be used as a last resort.

Laser treatment

Laser, a device that gives an intense beam of light, can sometimes treat wet AMD. This is usually done as an outpatient and although it may cause some discomfort, is not painful. A special contact lens is put onto the eye to help focus the laser onto the macula and the heat from the laser beam then destroys the leaky blood vessels. The benefit of this treatment is that it can prevent further degeneration of the macula. However, the laser treatment can damage healthy macula cells meaning that you might lose a little sight to save a lot. Laser treatment is only useful in about 10 per cent of people with wet AMD and this always where people have reported their symptoms early.

Photodynamic therapy

A new treatment for wet AMD has recently been announced, however this treatment is still in the experimental stages and is not openly available to everyone. This new treatment is called photodynamic therapy (PDT).

With PDT a light-sensitive dye is injected into the bloodstream and is transported to the retina at the back of the eye. This chemical highlights the blood vessels that are growing abnormally. A low energy or ‘cold’ laser beam is then shone onto the macula. This makes the chemical react and destroy the leaking blood vessels without damaging the healthy tissue around the affected area in the back of the eye. More than one treatment is usually required.

The long-term effects of this treatment or its success have yet to be proved. It may only help those newly developed wet AMD, when it has been caught in the early stages.

PDT is unsuitable for long-established wet AMD and cannot restore sight that has already been damaged by macular degeneration. PDT cannot be used to treat dry AMD.

Other treatments

There are a number of other possible treatments currently being explored, such as radiation therapy, drug therapy and surgery. The development of new medical treatments takes a long time and must be rigorously tested before being made available to the public. The benefit of these types of treatments remains uncertain and you should consider the nutritional route first.

Action Plan for Recovery

Conjunctivitis

RECOVERY PLAN

Overview:

Conjunctivitis is the most common eye disease in the Western hemisphere. Because of its exposed position, the conjunctiva comes into contact with more micro organisms than any other membrane. Bacteria, such as pneumococcus, staphylococcus or streptococcus, cause some cases although allergies and some viruses can also cause conjunctivitis. A virus called adenovirus causes other cases. This virus can be spread in many ways including swimming pools, wet towels, etc. The infection usually starts in one eye and is spread to the other quite readily. It usually results in red, irritated eyes and disappears in three days to a week. If the symptoms linger, go to the eye doctor. The infection can enter the cornea and create little clouded areas that may affect vision.

Symptoms:

  • Red, irritated eyes
  • “Glued” eyelids from discharges overnight upon wakening in the morning
  • Sensitivity to light
  • A feeling of itchiness and griminess

 

Causes:

Drugs can cause allergic conjunctivitis:

Antibiotics – when antibiotics are given for eye problems topically they may have the side effect of causing an allergic conjunctivitis (red eye). Systemic antibiotics taken orally, intramuscularly, or intravenously to help with bacterial infections may cause some visual symptoms. For example:

1. Synthetic penicillins (amoxicillin and ampicillin) – a person taking these may experience some mild redness of the eyes, itching and dry eyes. In rare cases they have been shown to cause haemorrhages of the blood vessels in the conjunctiva and in the retina

2. Tetracycline- similar to the above plus light sensitivity and blurred vision

3. Sulfonamides – many people are allergic to “sulfa drugs”. This can cause blurred vision, light sensitivity and haemorrhages in the eye.

Note Whenever taking antibiotics make sure you take probiotics such as acidophilus or bifidus and vitamin C to help ward off some of the side effects of the antibiotics.

Conventional Treatment:

Conventional medicine usually prescribes sulfa-based eyedrops once other potential problems have been ruled out. These usually work within three days. If not, broad-spectrum antibiotics are prescribed. In the case of a virus, not much can be done. An old time traditional treatment includes a 1% silver nitrate or 5% povidone/iodine solution – this will help eliminate the virus-infected cells by exfoliating the surface of the eye, as well as killing the virus itself.

Alternative Treatment:

Conjunctivitis is best treated with nutrition and natural remedies (See Action Plan).

Failing Eyesight

RECOVERY PLAN

Myths:

Nearsightedness is a genetic condition and only gets worse.

Facts:

Nearsightedness can be improved in a majority of cases through vision therapy, nutrition, and lifestyle changes. (Longsighted also responds to the same measures).

Overview:

Myopia is defined as nearsightedness. This means you can focus better on near objects such as when reading than on distant objects. How well you see near varies depending on the amount of nearsightedness a person has. Over 1/3rd of the population are nearsighted. Interestingly, less than 20 per cent of those are born nearsighted. New studies show that the nearsightedness in these 20% was almost certainly caused by mothers eating high levels of starchy food during pregnancy.

Symptoms:

Difficulty seeing details in the distance clearly without the use of glasses.

Causes:

The causes of myopia can vary from person to person, but below are some of the variables that may affect one’s near vision:

  • Genetics
  • Age
  • Stress, causing poor blood flow around the eyes and poor digestion.
  • Excessive time spent at close-up work such as work on computers, sewing, accounting, jewellery work causing a stress response around the eyes.
  • Personality type. There are emotional factors that effect how one’s vision develops.

Conventional Treatment:

Glasses with prescriptions that tend to become stronger every one to two years.

Alternative Treatment:

There are a number of steps shown in the Action Plan.