Printers/computers and contact lens problems

  [DELETED] 17:36 26 Dec 2003

Sorry to get a bit off topic here.

I have worn contact lenses for about 20 years, but over the last couple of years have started to have problems with them--drying eyes, soreness, etc.

I realised that this has started ever since I moved my computer so that it is in my bedroom, next to my bed. In addition, a newish printer (HP inkjet) is now on a shelf very close by.

Long sessions at the screen make my eyes really sore. With my previous ancient computer I had no trouble; when using an ancient dot matrix printer, again, no trouble.

Does anyone out there have any similar problems? I hate wearing my glasses, but repositioning the computer and printer would be a major problem (we would need to get builders in).

  bremner 17:49 26 Dec 2003

Have you set the Screen resolution to a figure that reduces as much as possible the flickering of the screen.

If it is 60Hz then you will suffer eye strain - get it up to 85Hz or as high as you can and this will help considerably.

I don't think I have ever heard of a printer causing eye problems.

  Big Elf 17:51 26 Dec 2003

There is a problem with Laser printers (ozone, I think) but I've not seen anything relating to inkjets but perhaps there's a solvent in the inks.

Possibly a larger monitor might help with the soreness. I find a TFT easier on the eye than a CRT but that could just be me.

  [DELETED] 17:54 26 Dec 2003

Thanks for coming back to me so quickly. My screen resolution is set to high already, so I don't think that is the problem. I have noticed that my eyes feel worse after I have put a new ink cartridge into the printer, and I wondered if that was adding to the problem. The hospital can see no problem with my eyes; optician seems to think that I have some sort of allergy, so add in the irritation I feel when I replace the ink cartridge and the problem going away when I don't work for a few days, and it would seem to be the printer that is causing the problem.

Perhaps I should swap to a laser printer! But I could do without the expense, and wonder if anyone else out there has a similar problem.

  Big Elf 18:30 26 Dec 2003

Laser printers are cheap these days. Staples had one on offer for £50, some are available for under £150. I assume the ozone problem has been reduced as technology has improved but it may still exist.

Although I mentioned the ink as a culprit, on reflection I doubt if anything 'leaks' out unless it's in use.

  Big Elf 18:36 26 Dec 2003

Just a thought. Don't connect the printer unless you are planning to use it and store it remotely. When you do use it ventilate the room. After a short time this might help confirm whether it's the printer that's causing the problem.

  woodchip 18:42 26 Dec 2003

Why not try a small fan blowing across the front of your face. Toward the printer or such. May be worth a try

  [DELETED] 20:28 26 Dec 2003

DIY girl, at the risk of stating the obvious, have you tried wearing your glasses whilst using the pc in the bedroom? It might just be concidence that you experienced problems with your lenses when you moved the pc to the bedroom.
As a contact lens wearer myself I am aware that they stop the eye "breathing" and occasional wearing of specs is recommended and can avoid eye strain and help oxygenate the eyes.

Is the room well illuminated? If the room is too dark your eyes can strain when looking at the bright screen to the dimly lit keyboard.

  [DELETED] 20:48 26 Dec 2003

Do you think this problem could be caused by central heating (dry air) and lack of air movement in the bedroom???
Try a fan as Woodchip suggests or hang one of those water containers on the radiator.

  PurplePenny 21:01 26 Dec 2003

I've had a lot of dry-eye problems this year (in fact I have scarring on my eyes as a result). It *is* a PC related problem.

One problem is that you don't blink as much as usual when looking at the monitor and this is especially bad for contact lens wearers as the lenses (and your eyes) don't get lubricated enough.

The light can make a great deal of difference - the health and safety office checked my lighting and replaced it (very quickly!!) and my eyes have improved greatly. I no longer get that awful feeling that my eyeballs have been fused to the screen. Maybe since you moved the PC the lighting is different.

One very easy thing that you can do to improve the situation is to have plants near the PC - and before anyone laughs it has been tested by NASA and their research showed that plants *do* improve air quality and reduce adverse ionisation. According to my GP, who used to be an opthalmologist before entering general practice, the mistake most people make is that they don't have the plants in the right place. They have to be right by the PC so that they directly affect the air coming from it. One of the NASA researchers has written a book which details which plants are best for which conditions - I don't have the reference here but if you contact me (click on the yellow envelope by my name) I'll let you have my work e-mail address and you can contact me there (where I have a copy of the book next to my desk).

Ask your pharmacist about hypromellose drops - s/he will be able to tell you whether they could help. But if the problem persist you must go back to your doctor - dry-eyes can be a serious problem if left untreated.


  PurplePenny 21:05 26 Dec 2003

A fan may help to improve the air quality but don't, don't, *don't* have it blowing anywhere near your face - it will make the situation worse. I have been (professionally) advised not even to have the fan in the car blowing.


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