Computer users experiencing eye strain might not be blinking often enough believes a Massachusetts optometrist who advises his patients to learn better blinking habits.
"Whenever we're concentrating on something, we tend to blink less often," said Dr. Ernest Loewenstein of Newton, Mass., an associate professor of optics at the New England College of Optometry in Boston. He believes ideal blinking frequency to keep the eyes moist is every 3 seconds, though another eye care specialist said every 3 to 5 seconds is OK.
Some people don't blink completely, Loewenstein added, further contributing to eyestrain. "And for contact lens wearers, blinking can be critical. It re-wets the lenses."
Dr. Jay Schlanger, a Los Angeles optometrist and an assistant professor at the Southern California College of Optometry, offered these suggestions to ease computer-related eyestrain: "Turn off the lights and see if there is any reflection off the screen. Reduce glare as much as possible. Try to work on a screen with white letters on a dark blue or black background."
Working with a contact lens manufacturer, Loewenstein has developed a 4-week program for proper blinking. For a free copy, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to "Blink," Polymer Technology Corp., 100 Research Drive, Wilmington, Mass. 01887.