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Dark Eyes

I must sit at my computer for up to 18 hours a day some days.  During this period my eyes become really dry and turn "dark" and I try eye drops and they do help, but I need a better solution short of giving up computers.

I have moved my computer way away from the heat vent so the dry air doesn't blow on me.  I try to take breaks from the computer every hour or so for 5 - 10 minutes maybe longer.  Of course sometimes when you're on a roll you just can't stop.

I'm wondering if anyone knows how to cure "dark" eyes without having to stop using the computer or what kind of eye drops you guys use that are "gentle".  I use computer eye drops.  My eye doctor tells me that it might be my glasses that cause the problem also so I got a new pair, but they don't seem to help.  I haven't tried contacts that might be an answer.

Dark Eyed Programmer
Saturday, January 10, 2004

1. High quality flat screen monitor.
2. Every 15 minutes, focus on something in the distance. if you have no window, take a break and walk outside.
3. Stop working 18 hrs. Bad for your health.

Tony Chang
Saturday, January 10, 2004

> High quality flat screen monitor.

LCD should be even better. From what I've read, LCD is better because the image is actually there, while with a CRT it's just a projection, and your eyes have a hard time focusing on it... or something like that.
Saturday, January 10, 2004

Some more suggestions:
1) Turn the brightness and contrast down. This helped me tremendously.
2) Try the "liquid tears" type eyedrops that you can use any time, as much as you like.
3) Occassionally, use an eyecup with eyewash to do a full rinse cycle on your eyes. They take some practice to not get your face all wet, but they really sooth the whole eye when you use them.
4) If you take an antihistamine, try a different brand for a couple weeks. Claritin made my eyes just terrible; Drixoral doesn't bother them at all.

Troy King
Saturday, January 10, 2004

One more idea, on the glasses -- when I switched to glasses with an anti-reflective coating, it also made quite a difference. I don't get the bright spots and glare and stuff. That cut down on the headaches some.

Troy King
Saturday, January 10, 2004

I used to work for lots of hours every day, too, back when I was a student.

Now I have a girlfriend, and so I work only 8 hours a day.

Since then, my vision has improved A LOT.

Simply the fact that I seriously cut the number of hours improved my vision.

Saturday, January 10, 2004

Right, I meant to say LCD or 'flat panel' and not a flat 'screen'. I keep forgetting that they call those CRTs flat screen and the LCDs are actually panels. Sorta like the terminology confusion between the format formerly known as USB 1.0 and its new name 'USB 2.0 normal speed'.

Tony Chang
Saturday, January 10, 2004

yes, I have a little lump in my left eye, and just noticed one starting in my right eye.

They aren't visible to anyone, but after a long day my eyes are dry, and I can feel them under my eyelids!!

I also use eyedrops to try to combat them.

Aussie Chick
Saturday, January 10, 2004

" haven't tried contacts that might be an answer."

I'd proceed with caution with contacts if you're eyes are drying out.

I had a problem with my eyes drying out and on a handful of occassions, the contact lens would actually adhere to my cornea. Needless to say, this was immensely painful since the contact was scratching the cornea each time my eye moved. It normally involved going to the ER to have anasthetic applied and having a doctor remove the contact.  I was a slow learner..Most people would have learned the first time. Took my about 3-4 times before I realized I wasn't cut out for contacts. By that time, I had developed scar tissue on the cornea and had to have it scraped off. (Yes, the procedure is as horrible as it sounds.)

Anway, the condition must be not be something an opthamologist can easily diagnose because when I visit a new doctor, they will examine my eyes and invariably suggest contacts....

Mark Hoffman
Saturday, January 10, 2004

"People who work abnormal hours shouldn't wear contacts"

I learned that at the Academy. I didn't get to the point of having to have them scraped off, but I came close.

Basically, if you work a long/varied schedule, you should wear glasses and save the contacts for social events.

[and yes, I'm sure there are lots of people that work 23 hour days and wear contacts - this is a guideline; YMMV]


Sunday, January 11, 2004

I can't wear contacts either due to dry eyes, and that goes back to when I was ten years old. Defnitely don't try contacts if your eyes are already uncomfortably dry without them, you'll just waste money and possibly damage your eyes. Make sure to get proper glasses instead.

Also I'd suggest daily eye muscle training -- move your eyes around, in one direction and the other, and look up, down, left, and right, 20-40 repetitions of each. Looking at a monitor (or book) all day long may cause your eye muscles to weaken, and that will lead to squinting which then has to be corrected by your weak eye muscles whenever you're trying to focus. The result is unclear vision, headaches, or eye pain; and you might get those without even knowing the cause.

This has actually happened to me. I spend a fortune on corrective glasses and even contemplated surgery (to shorten the eye muscles) until a doctor suggested eye training. One year later, I could use glasses without such correction and my ability to focus over extended periods of time had greatly improved.

Chris Nahr
Sunday, January 11, 2004

Every 15 to 30 minutes, get up from your desk and walk around for a couple of minutes. Take breaks. Don't just work for 18 hours straight.

Chris Tavares
Sunday, January 11, 2004

Contacts, as noted above, will make things worse. Wear glasses if you can.

The best thing I've found for curing my computer-related eye problems is just looking at far-off objects every 20 minutes or so. Gives the eye a break, and is a decent excuse for taking a minute to think.

Jimmy Jo-jo
Sunday, January 11, 2004

Also, remember to BLINK.. Concentrating too much on what's going on on the screen makes you stare for long periods of time without blinking.

Sunday, January 11, 2004

I use contacts these days (though right now I'm without any), so I don't have to wear varifocals.  I use eyedrops throughout the day oh and the contacts are dailies.

As my prescription has changed I might not be able to put up with contacts for much longer, my astygmatism has increased and the ghosting of type is more prevalent.

When I am in a period of wearing contacts I swap to glasses about every 3-5 days.

My working certainly became more comfortable after switching to an 18" LCD monitor.

Simon Lucy
Sunday, January 11, 2004

I've seen programs that will flash "blink" on your screen every few seconds, and supposedly you actually learn to blink and after a while it isn't distracting. I never did get used to it (nor did I ever get used to the MS Natural keyboard)

Also, a timer set up to ding every 15 to 20 minutes to remind you to focus on something far away is good.

Plus, spend time outdoors. I'm lucky enough to live in an area with elevated trains with trees growing on either side of the tracks. I make it a point to go to the front of the train and stare into the distance, really try to focus on things that are far away, which I think helps offset staring at something 15" away all day long.

Here's a question. How does breaking every 15 minutes interfere with flow states, or do you ignore that rule whenever you're deeply involved in something?

Lastly, stay hydrated. It's hard to manufacture tears if the rest of you is dehydrated. 8 glasses of water a day breaks down to a glass of water every 1-2 hours. This is most easily accomplished by having a large water bottle by your desk, you'll naturally just start drinking more. If you slack off, set a timer.
Sunday, January 11, 2004

Can you customize these programs to flash "Take Zahid to lunch" instead?

Sunday, January 11, 2004

>I've seen programs that will flash "blink" on your screen every few seconds, and supposedly you actually learn to blink and after a while it isn't distracting. I never did get used to it (nor did I ever get used to the MS Natural keyboard)

Do you know any details? This is exactly my problem, I try to remind myself to blink, but I know I just don't do it.

Aussie Chick
Sunday, January 11, 2004

Check out the FlashWindowEx API call under windows.  I think it's normally used to indicate that the process of an inactive window is complete and the windows needs attention.

I pitty the fool, who is a fool
Sunday, January 11, 2004

Sorry, I don't remember what the name was or who made it, but a Google search turned up this:
Sunday, January 11, 2004

Are you sure it's the 18 hours at the computer?  There are medical consditions, some serious, which have dry eyes as a symptom.  If your eye doctor is an optometrist, I suggest consulting an opthamologist.

Name withheld out of cowardice
Monday, January 12, 2004

I use Similasan #3 eye drops if my eyes get dry

Pricey yet effective.

Also, for those not to keen on eye surgery, look into Ortho-K.  Rigid Gas Permable lenses you wear at night that reshape the surface of your eye.  Take them out during the day and have 20/20 or better vision.  I had 20/200 in both eyes, 3 days after wearing them 20/20.  I've had them for 5 years now.  The longer you wear them (hours per night) the longer the reshaping effect lasts.  Right now I can wear them every other night.  The best thing about it is being able to see with 20/20 vision all the time.

Monday, January 12, 2004

First, IANAD, but the lumps under the eye lids many of your are describing are often indicative of an eye infection some sort; seeing an Ophthalmologist might be a good idea.

To the original poster, again, IANAD, but constantly dry eyes are frequently the result of an autoimmune disorder called Sjögren's syndrome (, a disorder where the immune system attacks the moisture producing parts of the body resulting constantly dry eyes, mouth, and in women, vaginal dryness too. By itself it's often just a minor annoyance, but in many people Sjögren's is caused by a very nasty autoimmune disease like Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, or Scleroderma. How do you know for sure the computer is at fault? Do you spend a substantial amount of time outdoors, away from the computer and does it show up then too? Is it worse when your ill?

I would advise to go see Ophthalmologist, and as others have warned, don't even think about getting contacts if your eyes are dry.

Monday, January 12, 2004

>>Rigid Gas Permable lenses you wear at night that reshape the surface of your eye.<<

Two questions come to mind:

1. How can you sleep with these things on your eyes? Without heavy drugs, anyway.

2. Shortsightedness results from a lengthened eyeball. The cornea is (usually) perfectly healthy. Are you sure it's a good idea to deform the cornea to compensate for the misshapen eyeball?

That's the same concern I have about lasering slices off the cornea... it's operating on the wrong part of the organ!

Chris Nahr
Monday, January 12, 2004

Be careful about eye drops.  Your eyes can get used to being watered regularly.

Generally, my eyes only suck if I'm sleep-deprived.  I can look at whatever I want for 16 hours out of the day as long as I get those magic 7-8 hours of sleep at night.

Mark Hoffman, I'm going to clock you upside the head next time I meet you.  Your post gave me the heebie-jeebies.

Flamebait Sr.
Monday, January 12, 2004


re: RGP lens

They are similar to hard contacts, actually they are an evolution of sorts.  In the 70's (before soft contacts) it was found that the wearers of hard contact lenses actually retained thier eyesite after taking the lenses out.  But those lenses didn't breathe well and wern't able to be worn at night.

1) I imagine that a non-soft-contact-wearer may have a little trouble at first with the Ortho-K solution, mainly due trying to put something in your eye.  After a few days of wearing them you get used to the RGP lenses.  Also since you are sleeping you don't notice them anyway :)

2) The only response I have to that is the RGP method is reversable and just recently approved by the FDA (Corneal Refractive Therapy by Paragon Vision Sciences in June 2002)

Monday, January 12, 2004

Just thinking about the blink program.

Do you think writing a program like that, that poped up every three seconds for the a split second, so fast you on saw a flash.

But hidden in the flash would be advertising.
Say for a program your company was writing.

Give the blink program away free, and see an increase in purchases.

Moral? Ethical? Would it work? Would users who found out be annoyed? or more to the point, if you told them up front, would they not use it.
(all this considering how few people actually use a blink program)

Aussie Chick
Monday, January 12, 2004

The D-Blink program seems to make a difference.  It was annoying at first, now I don't even notice it.

Monday, January 12, 2004

Aussie Chick, you should look into the subliminal advertising that used to go on in Movie Theaters in the 50's. A single frame of "Enjoy Coke" or "The Conession Stand is Open" or something like this inserted into a movie. Illegal, but fun to toy with. I've seen similar programs where you can type in any message you wanted to. I played with one probably 5 or more years ago. I always found it distracting though.
Wednesday, January 14, 2004


I just happened to find this discussion page while searching on google, so, I have no idea if this is a private discussion or not, but, just found it cool to know that someone other than me has used that D-Blink program hehe. I found that when I'm coding, somehow I'm just continuously staring at the screen unknowingly and I have tried to make an effort to realize this and take a forced break, but, it never ever worked. Thats why I wrote the blink program and, well, it didnt always work...especially when I'm trying to fix some bug etc, but, when I'm using the computer more casually, I notice the blink program flashing and do just that...i felt stupid for putting up that program online coz it was so wierd, but, now it all seems ok *grin*...

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

I recently read a comment that the backlight luminance of LCDs is controlled by pulse width modulating the lamp current.  i.e. LCD lamps actually flicker on/off in order to achieve the desired perceived brightness.

Furthermore, it was suggested that this flicker can actually cause some people's eyes to be more dry than when using CRTs.

Maybe this is dependent upon the specific LCD brightness setting?

Has anyone heard of or experienced this before?

Monday, March 1, 2004

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