Baltimore Washington Eye Center, Maryland

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Contact Lens Wear, Computer Use, and Dry Eye.

A new study from Japan suggests that contact lens wearers who spend more than 4 hours a day looking at a computer screen are much more likely to report/suffer from dry eye symptoms. Specifically, this group was found to have a lower tear volume compared to the non-contact lens wearers studied.  This was true regardless of the type of contact lens being worn. Symptoms such as burning, tearing, and grittiness seemed to be worsened/triggered by environmental conditions like air conditioners, smoke, and dust.  Also of note, contact lens wearers in this study reported higher rates of visual blur and visual difficulties while driving, reading, or watching television.

Other studies have demonstrated an association between computer use and dry eye disease resulting from lower blinking rates and increased tear film evaporation. It is also been shown that the presence of contact lenses further increases tear film instability with a resultant increase in tear film evaporation.

The current study's findings support previous findings that contact lens wear and longer periods of computer use play important roles in causing dry eye symptoms. The study is currently in press and will appear in an upcoming issue of the American Journal of Ophthalmology.