You have been working on a report for weeks and your deadline is tomorrow morning. It’s the end of a long day at the office, and you need to check the numbers one more time. When you do, the figures on the spreadsheet appear blurry, and you just can’t get your eyes to focus.
But why? You recently had your eyes examined and the optometrist assured you that your current contact lens prescription is fine. What could be wrong with your eyes?
Why Can’t Your Eyes Focus?
Many patients come to us at Blacksburg Eye Associates with similar complaints about eye focus problems. After examining their eyes, we often diagnose them with dry eye syndrome.
When working long hours on the computer or spending a significant amount of time staring at a mobile phone screen, the eye’s blink rate decreases significantly, causing the protective tear film that covers the eye to evaporate faster. To retain visual acuity, the tear film needs to spread smoothly and evenly over the eye surface. Insufficient fluid makes this impossible.
What is Dry Eye?
With people spending more and more hours on digital devices, the increasing prevalence of dry eye is not surprising. As mentioned earlier, dry eye occurs when tears don’t provide sufficient lubrication to the eye or are of poor quality.
Mild dry eye can affect up to 50% of the adult population in the USA, with more than 16 million adults suffering from severe dry eye.
Dry eye can be caused by infrequent blinking, hot and dry air, certain medical conditions, medications, eyelid problems, or damaged tear glands. Age is another factor, as tear production decreases with age. Long-term use of contact lenses is another possible cause. Furthermore, simply being exposed to today’s polluted air can make your eyes feel very dry.
Additional symptoms of dry eye include redness of the eyes, itchy eyes, a burning sensation in the eyes, eye fatigue, and increased sensitivity to light.
What Do Tears Have to Do With Eye Focus?
Poor tear quality can also cause blurry vision. Tears are a mixture of water, fatty oils, and mucus. If the balance is off between these three essential layers, the tears will no longer produce the necessary smooth cover over the front of the eye. Even though your eyes focus perfectly well, the uneven film of tears will distort your vision, and the numbers on your spreadsheet will appear blurry.
How to Treat Dry Eye
Artificial tears can provide relief for mild dry eye. Make sure to use only preservative-free drops. Consult Dr. Colleen Mitchell and Dr. John Dovie to get more information on the ideal treatment for your dry eyes.
We can run simple diagnostic tests to determine the cause of dry eye and evaluate your tear quality. If you wear contact lenses, the optometrist can recommend different types of lenses made from materials that retain more moisture.
Schedule an eye exam with Dr. Colleen Mitchell and Dr. John Dovie at Blacksburg Eye Associates today and talk to us about your focusing issues and dry eye concerns.
Visit our practice if you are from Blacksburg, Radford, Christiansburg, New River Valley, and throughout Virginia.