Eyes, computer screens and spectacles

After my previous post on eye dominance, I’m at risk of sounding like I’m obsessed with eyes by talking about them again. I must admit that my greatest fear is losing my eyesight, for, after all, any other part of the anatomy can be replaced with a man-made prosthesis, but not one’s eyes…

Spending a long time staring at a backlit laptop screen is not good for my eyes, I know that, so I take precautions such as adjusting the brightness and contrast of the screen in the settings. It helps to alter my focus from time to time, rather than staring intently at something that’s only two feet away non-stop. Looking around the room and out of the window at sights nearby and on the horizon gives my eyes a workout. This article in WebMD sums up the problem and the solutions very well: http://www.webmd.com/eye-health/computer-vision-syndrome

I came across some empirical proof that Computer Vision Syndrome affects techies, nerds and geeks when I lived in Atlanta. My ex-wife was a network administrator for a multi-national telecommunications company, and her office was located on a site alongside lots of other technological and research firms. When people left for home, the roads became gridlocked – Atlanta is famed for its smog and traffic jams, and drivers become expert at driving very slowly.

All the same, there were hundreds of fender benders, or low speed collisions, in the proximity of the business park. The police and insurance companies issued a statement after examining drivers’ statements about what caused the accidents. They were blamed on drivers not being able to shift their focus from the instruments and dashboard after spending hours staring at their computer monitors. Their spatial awareness was poor too, as their brains had become attuned to tunnel vision. The advice was issued that people recalibrate their eyes by having a good look around them, before stepping into their cars and driving off like a robot.

Image result for blurred vision gifRelated imageImage result for mrs doyle father tedImage result for foggy vision gif

I’ve been wearing spectacles for about nineteen years. I discovered that I needed them in an unusual way. I used to help to manage a community centre, which rented out rooms for various activities and that had a free-to-use computer suite. So far as I knew, my vision was fine. One Christmas I was asked to stand in for the man who usually played Father Christmas, as he was recovering from knee surgery. Although my beard was turning white, I had no idea that I was sufficiently ancient, portly and trustworthy to play Santa Claus, but was honoured to be asked.

A red and white costume was provided, along with a fake cotton-wool beard, but I decided that I’d look more convincing wearing some grampa/John Lennon style glasses. I acquired a pair at a charity/thrift shop for a mere 50 pence. They didn’t look like they had strong lenses, but I tried them out by looking at a newspaper—thinking that the print would be blurred. Instead, the words jumped into sharp focus! D’oh – I needed to wear glasses after all, as my brain had been working in overdrive to compensate for the deterioration of my cornea.

Any spectacles wearer will know what a pain they are to clean. I don’t like the idea of using contact lenses, and the thought of laser eye surgery makes me queasy, so I’ve stuck with glasses. I clean them each morning and have tried a number of different ways, including commercial glass cleaner sprays, vinegar and lemon juice. I’d try rubbing alcohol, which is freely available in America but hard to source in the U.K. (no idea why) unless bought online.

All of these methods kind-of worked, but the lenses soon became smeared, as if I’d wiped them over with a greasy rag. Looking online, I found that the best way to remove marks is washing-up liquid or dish soap. Rubbing a dab of it between forefinger and thumb on each side of the lens, followed by rinsing off beneath a running tap and polishing with paper towel sees the glass gleaming. It works better than anything else that I’ve tried.


This is encouraging news. I recall an experimental surgical technique from a few years ago, where a lens was inserted into a tooth, which was then located in the eye socket – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1197256/Blind-man-sees-wife-time-having-TOOTH-implanted-eye.html

It makes me think of the amusing question, Where would you have a third eye? The end of a finger would be quite useful, provided it came with a reinforced eyelid to protect it from harm. Just think of the things you could see! At the very least, it would make finding things in a pocket easier.

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