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Computer Vision Syndrome

You have seen our posts and blogs before about the risks that blue light poses to vision. In our current day it is common for us to be looking at a screen for a significant amount of time every day. Most jobs require computer work, we watch tv, use tablets and all of us are walking around with a small screen in our pocket all day.

The threat of blue light is a newer issue that has come to light in the last 20 years and the effects are still being studied. Currently the average American worker spends seven hours a day on the computer. The main problem is referred to as Computer Vision Syndrome.

What is Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS)

You may also hear it referred to as digital eye strain. Both names are referring to a group of eye and vision related problems that can result from prolonged screen time.

When reading or working on a computer screen, your eyes are working harder than usual. Uncorrected vision problems can also worsen CVS if left untreated. In most cases the symptoms of CVS occur because the visual demands of the task exceed the visual abilities of the individual performing them.


There are many symptoms that could indicate you are suffering from CVS such as:

  • Headaches
  • Eyestrain
  • Dry Eyes
  • Blurred Vision
  • Neck and Shoulder Pain

People who are spending 2 or more hours on a computer or using a digital screen each day are highest risk for developing these types of symptoms. Many of the symptoms are temporary and do decline after they stop looking at a screen. In some severe cases though, some people can experience blurred distance vision even after stopping their screen time. If nothing is done to address the cause of the problem the symptoms can get worse.

How to Diagnose It

A comprehensive eye exam is the best way to determine if you are suffering from CVS. Like we mentioned, some vision problems can worsen CVS symptoms if left untreated. These vision impairments include:

  • Nearsightedness
  • Farsightedness
  • Astigmatism
  • Presbyopia

Your eye doctor will be able to determine if you are suffering from any of the above and will assess the amount of time you are using a computer screen and all the symptoms you have been suffering from.

How to Treat CVS

There are many different ways to solve CVS and your eye doctor will help you to determine what course of action is best for you.

In some cases, eye glasses or contact lenses can be prescribed to help protect your eyes from the blue light that is emitted from electronic screens. Of course, if it is determined you need vision correction that will be offered too.
The way in which you view the computer can also be a factor in helping with symptoms of CVS. It is helpful to have the computer screen slightly lower than your normal view.

What sets us apart?

At TriCounty Eye Associates, we offer Neurolens which are an enhancement on the old blue light blocking lenses. These lenses are specially made to help with headaches, eye strain and eye misalignment.

If you think you could be suffering from symptoms of CVS, make sure to mention it at your next appointment!

Diabetes and Your Eyes

Diabetes affects 11.3% of the United States population. That is around 37.3 million people. According to the CDC 8.5 million people who have diabetes, haven’t been diagnosed yet. With these high numbers, we wanted to bring some attention to how diabetes can affect your eye’s.

When someone has diabetes, there are a group of eye problems that can affect them. This group of problems is called diabetic eye disease.

What is Diabetic Eye Disease?

If you have diabetes, over time the disease can damage your eyes. It can cause poor vision or even blindness in extreme cases. Some of the conditions that are known to affect people with diabetes are:

  • Diabetic Retinopathy – this is when blood vessels in the back of the eye can weaken, bulge or leak into the retina. If it worsens, some blood vessels an even close off.
  • Diabetic Macular Edema – this is when diabetes causes swelling in the macula (part of your retina) and the swelling can cause partial vision loss or blindness.
  • Cataracts – this is when the lens of your eye becomes cloudy. This can happen in younger people who have diabetes.
  • Glaucoma – this refers to a group of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve. Diabetes doubles the changes of having glaucoma.

It is possible to prevent diabetic eye disease if you catch the issue early. The best way to keep your diabetes from affecting your eyes is to manage it well. Some ways you can manage your diabetes is to:

  • Manage your blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol.
  • Quit smoking
  • Have a dilated eye exam every year

In some cases, you won’t be able to tell eye damage is occurring, so it is important to get a yearly dilated eye exam so an eye doctor can identify damage before the symptoms start.

How does diabetes affect your eyes?

The biggest issue for your eyes when you have diabetes, is when your blood glucose stays high over longer periods of time. If this occurs, it can damage the small blood vessels in the back of your eyes. This damage can start during pre diabetes, when blood glucose is higher than it usually is but not so high that you are diagnosed. Damaged blood vessels can leak fluid that causes swelling in your eye.

What are some of the symptoms?

In many cases there are no early symptoms of diabetic eye disease. When there are symptoms they can include:

  • frequently changing vision
  • poor color vision
  • flashes of light
  • blurry or wavy vision
  • dark areas or vision loss
  • spots or dark strings (floaters)

Is there treatment?

An eye doctor will perform a dilated eye exam in order to diagnose you with diabetic eye disease. This is the only way to know for sure.

Once diagnosed, you and your eye doctor will determine the best course of action to treat your symptoms. In many cases, this will be primarily to manage or control your diabetes. If you can focus on keeping your blood glucose as a normal level, this will help tremendously with your eye health.

In other circumstances there may be a medicine, laser treatment or even surgery needed to help you gain your vision back.

Bottom Line

At the end of the day, we want to encourage you to own your health. Focusing on healthy lifestyle habits can go a long way with managing diabetes, or diabetic eye disease.

Regular doctor appointments, including Eye Exams will help to identify issues early so you can hopefully ward off any damage later in life.

Contacts vs Glasses

So you have gone to the eye doctor and they have diagnosed you as needing vision correction. Once you have come to this realization you will see that you now have two options to choose from. You can either choose eyeglasses or contact lenses to help correct your vision.

It is important to know that this decision does not have a right or wrong answer, it is usually a matter of prefrence. We just like to keep our patients informed so they can make the best decision for themselves. Hopefully you will come away from this article with a better understanding of what will work better for you

Eye Glasses

Some of the great things about glasses are:

  • They are easy to clean and store
  • They don’t need to be replaced often
  • You don’t have to touch your eyes to wear them
  • There are many frame styles to choose from
  • Lenses are customizable
  • They offer another layer of protection from the elements

Some of the things that aren’t so great about glasses are:

  • They can be more expensive if you need to replace them
  • They can be uncomfortable
  • They don’t cover your entire field of vision
  • Some people don’t like the way the look in them
  • The lenses can fog up or get smudged


Some great things about contacts are:

  • They are less noticeable
  • They give you more freedom of movement
  • They allow you to wear non prescription sunglasses
  • They are less obstructive of your vision
  • They are less expensive to replace

Some not so great things about contacts are:

  • They have a stricter cleaning and storage regimen than glasses
  • Touching your eye to put them in or take them out can be hard
  • If you don’t follow the care rules, it can result in eye health issues
  • They might not help ward off computer eye strain

Can you wear both?

The short answer is yes! A way for you to get the best of both words would be to have the option to wear contacts when you want to and wear glasses when you want to. This way you can benefit from all the great things both have to offer but avoid any of the negative things.

We have a current special running that could help you achieve this. If you purchase a years supply of contact lenses you will also get 50% off complete eye glasses as well as a FREE pair of polarized sunglasses.

We offer the the Acuvue Oasis 1-Day contacts, which can be helpful to ward off computer eye strain issues. These lenses help to keep eyes consistently hydrated.

Which do you prefer?

Now that we have laid out all the good and the bad, let us know which you prefer. Come visit us at TriCounty Eye Associates to pick out your next pair of glasses or order your next shipment of contacts!

Back To School Eye Exams

Back to school is upon us! There is always so much to remember about back to school. Meet the teacher, school supplies, new clothes, new books, sometimes the list can feel overwhelming. One thing we want to be sure doesn’t get left off the list is making your kids eye appointments before they go back to school.

There are so many reasons to make sure you are getting regular eye exams but it is especially important for kids to get their exams each school year so that they can avoid any issues while trying to learn.

When should Kids start exams?

It is recommended that kids start getting eye exams as early as six months old. This can help to ensure their eyes are developing normally. As they get older, yearly exams will help to identify any developmental issues or long term problems that may need correction.

Ages 2 to 5 years old eye exams are testing for:

  • Visual acuity
  • Lazy eye
  • Stereopsis
  • Eye tracking
  • Convergence
  • Color Vision
  • Ocular Health

It is important to monitor these skills because they are imperative for learning and success at school.

As kids grow their eye exams will change to focus on different aspects of vision. The skills tested for kids ages 6 to 18 are:

  • Visual Acuity – the ability to see clearly in the distance, up close, and at an intermediate distance.
  • Eye Focusing – maintaining clear vision when changing focus from far away to up close.
  • Eye Tracking – keeping eyes on target if they are looking from one object to another.
  • Eye Teaming – this is the coordination of both eyes to work together ad to judge distances.
  • Eye-hand coordination – this is the ability to direct hands by using visual information.
  • Vision Perception – this is the ability to understand and remember when they read by organizing images into letters.

Why are exams so important for kids?

It is important for any vision problems to be diagnosed as early as possible to set children up for success at school. Yearly exams will help to do this. Sometimes learning disabilities can be mis-diagnosed when the real problem is a vision impairment.

This can help your child learn and progress better than if these possible issues are left undetected. We recommend using the start of school as a good reminder to schedule an exam. This helps to identify any potential issues before the school year begins and make sure your child is set up for success each and every year.

Call us today to schedule your child’s yearly exam!

 Moncks Corner Location

North Charleston Location

Our Planet and Your Eyes: How air pollution can affect eye health

Two things you might not think are connected, air pollution and eye health. We have brought this topic up before but wanted to reiterate how the planet’s climate and pollution can affect your eye health. There is important information we want to make you aware of so you can make small changes in your day to day lives to protect yourself.

Our world is constantly changing, and the affects of pollution are not only making the planet deteriorate. Our bodies including our eye’s are exposed to new and worse pollutants as time goes on.

Climate Change

Climate change has caused an increase in natural disasters over the last 40 years all around the world. This increase is starting to cause concern for eye health as air pollution levels continue to rise.

Some statistics from NASA:

  • Most of the Earth’s warming has happened in the last 40 years
  • The 6 warmest years on record have been since 2014
  • 2016 was the warmest year on record

With these warmer years, we are seeing shorter winters and longer fall and spring seasons. With this in mind, the two biggest eye health threats are air pollution and longer allergy seasons.

Danger to Eye Health

There are a few main issues that are directly related to climate change that are causing the most harm to our eyes.

Air Pollution

Air pollution can lead to a higher risk of age related macular degeneration, dry eye and conjunctivitis (pink eye). There was a study done in Taiwan in 2019 that showed there is a 91% greater risk of developing Age Related Macular Degeneration for those who had been exposed to the highest level of vehicle emissions compared to those who had be exposed to the lowest amount.

Air pollution can also cause immeidate threats. Recently there was a large wildfire in Canada and its smoke and ash polluted the air all the way down the east coast of the United States. These types of air pollutants can blow ash into your eyes causing scratches and discomfort to your eye, as well as cause dry eye symptoms which if not treated can cause other disorders.

Worsen Allergies

Climate change is changing weather patterns that we have grown accustom to. As these weather patterns change so does our environment around us. With a warmer climate world wide, season length is starting to change. Longer spring means longer allergy season for some as well as more pollen being released into the air than in previous years.

With the symptoms of allergies being somewhat misdiagnosed in some cases this can cause issues for people trying to get relief. There is also the issue of the overuse of antihistamines for allergy systems. When used for too long they can cause dry eye and more discomfort.

Higher UV Rays

Climate change is causing our ozone layer to deteriorate which is leading to higher UV ray exposure when outside. UV radiation coming from the sun can cause eye issues such as:

  • Cataracts
  • Snow Blindness
  • Eye Sunburn

There was a global agreement in 1987 that banned ozone depleting chemicals being used, but the damage that was done up until that point has not healed completely.

How to Combat Pollution Related Eye Issues

Everyone can make a difference, even if it feels like you are starting small. It will take all of us to slow down the process of climate change and start to restore our planet to its former glory.

  • There are many ways you can start contributing to air pollution clean up:
  • Recycle any recyclable materials
  • Car pool or use alternative transportation like Bikes
  • Plant Trees
  • Shut off lights in rooms you are not in
  • Use electric yard tools
  • Don’t burn waste

In regards to keeping your eyes safe, always wear a quality pair of sunglasses while outside or exposed to the sun. Avoid being outside in high air pollution areas. Most importantly, regularly see your eye doctor to make sure your eyes are in tip top shape.

Myopia (Nearsightedness)

We have talked about this topic on our blog before, but it has been a little while so we thought it would be good idea to re-visit it this month. According to the AAO this disorder is on the rise for several decades. They estimate that by 2050, almost HALF of the worlds population will have nearsightedness. So lets take a look at what this disorder is and how to treat or prevent it.

What is Myopia?

Myopia is commonly referred to as nearsightedness. It is when objects up close look clear but objects in the distance are blurry. So it may be easy to read something like a restaurant menu, but when you are driving you are unable to read road signs that are far away.

Myopia is currently categorized into two levels, either high or low myopia. You can be diagnosed with either and your eye doctor will prescribe the best contacts of glass lenses to correct your vision for you.

Usually if children are diagnosed with myopia, their level will rise but can level off in their twenties.

How to tell if you have Myopia?

There are some symptoms you could be experiencing that might be because of myopia. These include:

  • Headaches
  • Eyestrain
  • Squinting
  • Difficulty seeing things that are far away
  • Blurry Vision

Of course the most effective way to find out if you or your child have myopia would be to schedule an eye exam and let an eye doctor diagnose it.

What Causes Myopia?

If you have myopia, then the shape of your eye is preventing light from bending so that the light is not landing on your retina. In an eye without myopia, the cornea and lens will work together to bend the light you see and have it land directly on the retina. The retina will then send a signal to your brain which allows you to see.

If your cornea is curved too steeply or if your eye is longer than normal it can cause the light rays you are seeing to not fall on your retina which then makes it harder to see.

How is Myopia Treated?

The easiest way to treat myopia is with glasses or contacts. After an eye exam, your eye doctor will prescribe a lens that will help to correct your vision. Your prescriptions will change over time, which is why it is important to see your eye doctor each year. They can change your glasses or contacts to better correct your vision as your vision changes.

There are also surgeries that you could be a candidate for. Theses types of surgeries are called refractive surgeries and include:

  • Epi-LASIK
  • PRK

Refractive surgeries an ophthalmologist removes the natural lens inside your eye and replaces it with an artificial lens. The new lens helps to aim the light at the retina to help you see more clearly.

Can Myopia be Prevented?

There is some research to support being able to prevent myopia from progressing and one of the theories is to encourage children to spend more time outdoors. Balancing indoor and outdoor time can help protect against myopia.

The best way to combat any eye disorder is to regularly see your eye doctor. If you or your children are experiencing any of the above symptoms we described, call us today to make your appointment!

Eye Exams: All You Need to Know

As we grow older, it can get easier and easier to let things like your regular eye exams slip through the cracks. We wanted to re-visit this topic because there are so many reasons to have your eye’s examined regularly. There are implications of other health concerns that can be caught in an eye exam. It can be easy to think your vision doesn’t need any correction, until you get an exam and realize you haven’t been seeing the world as clearly as you could have been!

Why You Need to See a Doctor

Eye diseases are can go unnoticed with no symptoms for a long time before they cause harm. If you are regularly seeing a doctor, they can notice changes in your eye before symptoms occur. If caught early enough some diseases can be treated to prevent vision loss later on.

We actually offer a specific service not all eye doctors have, the Optomap Prime, which allows our doctors to do a comprehensive eye exam without having to dilate your eyes. This new technology takes away the invasive process of dilation that can deter some people from their regular eye exam. Make sure to ask us about this at your next visit.

An eye doctor is going to examine a few different things in your eye exam such as:

  • visual acuity (sharpness)
  • depth perception
  • eye alignment
  • eye movement

In addition to catching eye issues early, an eye exam may also be able to catch other health conditions like high blood pressure or diabetes. They can let you know what they find so you can follow up with your primary care doctor.

Regular Eye Exams Save Vision

Like we were saying, if some eye conditions are caught early enough, there are treatments that can help to save your vision. An eye exam can catch some common eye diseases. Some common eye diseases that can lead to permanent vision loss are:

  • Cataracts – this is a clouding of the eye lens and is the leading cause of vision loss in the US.
  • Diabetic Retinopathy – this causes damage to blood vessels int he back of the eye.
  • Glaucoma – this describes a group of diseases that damage the optic nerve.
  • Age Related Macular Degeration – this is a gradual breakdown of the light sensitive tissue in the eye.

We have published blogs on each of these conditions, if you are looking for a deeper dive into them check out the other blogs on our website.

How Often Should You Have an Eye Exam?

It is very important for children to have their eyes examined frequently as they are growing. There are some learning disabilities that can be misdiagnosed vision problems, and you won’t know until your child has an exam. It is recommended that children get at least one exam between the ages of 3 and 5. Ideally school aged children should be examined every year, especially if you are noticing any issues with focusing at school.

People with diabetes should have a dilated eye exam every year and people who are at higher risk for glaucoma should have a dilated exam every two years.

If you can’t remember when your last exam was, it is probably a good idea to schedule one!

Don’t Forget Your Sunglasses!

Since we are entering summer vacation this week in the tri-county area, we thought it would be a good time to re-visit the importance of wearing sunglasses when spending time out in the sun.

Our area offers so many amazing outdoor activities, it makes it hard to stay indoors when it’s sunny outside! Between the relaxing beaches, the many rivers and neighborhood pools, there are so many ways to cool off during the summer.

When you are out in the sun most people don’t forget to put their sunscreen on. Next time you are getting ready to lather up, make sure you remember the sun protection for your eyes!

Why can the Sun be Harmful?

Many of us have experienced a sunburn at least once in our lives. A sunburn is a more immediate example of the damage sun can cause on your body, but the same sun can also damage your eyes if you don’t protect them.

The sun gives off Ultraviolet radiation, and this type of radiation is what causes sunburns. It can also cause a type of sunburn to your eyes called Photokeratitis. This condition damages your corneal epithelial cells and this can lead to various degrees of discomfort. It can be mild irritation or severe pain.

Prolonged exposure to UV radiation from sunlight can increase your chances or developing more serious eye problems later in life. UV radiation exposure has been linked to:

  • Cataracts
  • Age Related Macular Degeneration

Another, lesser known, threat to your eye health are reflective surfaces such as water, road surfaces, snow, or windshields. If enough light is being reflected off of these surfaces it can damage your eyes with extended exposure.

How to Protect Your Eyes

The best way to protect your eyes from UV radiation from the sun is to always wear sunglasses! Anytime you are outdoors make sure you have a pair with you. It is also important to make sure your sunglasses have the correct UV protection you need.

We have so many different styles and brands of sunglasses. Come see us to find the perfect pair for your face!

Our staff is ready and waiting to help with any questions you might have!

Mental Health and Vision

May is mental health awareness month. We wanted to shed some light on how vision loss can affect your Mental Health and then offer tips to cope with major vision impairment or loss.

There has been a close link found between eye health and mental health. It is more likely that someone who has vision loss or impairment will suffer from mental health issues. According to the CDC, 1 in 4 adults with vision loss report experiencing anxiety and depression.

Which Vision Problems Impact Mental Health the Most?

Any vision problem that leads to or results in vision loss are most likely to cause mental health issues. These vision problems can include:

  • Diabetic Retinopathy
  • Age-related macular degeneration
  • Glaucoma
  • Retinitis pigmentosa

Three of those four problems are some of the most common in the US.

Mental Health Disorders that Impact Eye Health

While vision problems can cause mental health decline, mental health disorders can also impact eye health. People who suffer from a mental health condition are more likely to develop vision issues.

Its not known yet what the link is between mental illness and vision issues but there are some theories:

  • Stress is a big factor in the development of eye conditions so depending on what mental health disorder someone suffers from, the stress from it could play a part in deteriorating eye health
  • There are also some researchers who think that there re neurological roots shared between certain mental health issues and vision issues.

How to Cope with Vision Issues

There are a few ways to cope with vision loss that can help to improve your mental health. If you are suffering from vision loss or severe vision impairment make sure you try to learn as much as you can about your condition. It can also be helpful to meet with a counselor who can help you navigate the feelings your experiencing. Lastly make sure you are utilizing any assistance devices that can help you maintain your quality of life.(ie. text to speech software, hand magnifiers, smartwatches with speech capabilities).

In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, we hope we have made it clear how important your mental health can be. It can affect all aspects of your health, including you vision.

As always, make sure to make an appointment with us if you are experiencing any vision problems!


Stress is a big factor in our society today. So many outside stressors can cause a lot of damage to your health. Did you know that in addition to your overall health, constant stress can also cause issues for your eyes?

Types of Stress

There are two main types of stress.

Acute Stress – This type of stress is short term and can go away quickly. It helps you to manage dangerous situations, like when you slam on your breaks or ski down a steep slope. This type of stress can also occur when you do something exciting or new. Everyone encounters this type of stress at some point in their lives.

Chronic Stress – Chronic stress lasts for a longer period of time. Chronic stress can be caused by finances, work or relationships. This kind of stress can last weeks or months. This is the kind of stress that can cause long term health problems.

What Stress Can Do To Your Eyes

If you have chronic stressors in your life but you are not doing anything to manage that stress you may see many health problems start to show up. Some health issues linked to chronic stress are:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Depression
  • Skin problems

Of course, vision problems are on the list as well. One of the biggest links from stress to vison is the stress hormone cortisone. This hormone is gradually released by the body as a reaction to stress. It can increase your heart rate, respiration, blood pressure and muscle tension. Cortisol also helps to regulate the digestive and reproductive systems during a stress crisis.

If you are experiencing chronic anxious moments it can result in a dangerous increase in cortisol levels. When cortisol levels will disrupt the blood flow from the eye to the brain which can cause vision problems.

The majority of stress related vision problems are usually temporary but if you have a consistent issue it could be related to stress. Some stress related vision issues are:

  • Light Sensitivity
  • Tunnel Vision
  • Eye Twitching
  • Extremely dry or wet eyes
  • Blurry Vision
  • Eye Strain
  • Eye Floaters
  • Double Vision
  • Vision Distortions

Ways to Manage Stress

If you feel like you could be experiencing some of the above issues and think it could be related to chronic stress here are some tips to help you learn to manage your stress.

  • Take breaks from the news and social media – disconnecting from screens and traumatic news stories can help lower your stress levels.
  • Take care of yourself – eat healthy, get regular exercise and make sure to get enough sleep.
  • Schedule time to unwind – make sure to make time for activities you really enjoy.
  • Talk to your family and friends – it can help to get your troubles off your chest. Talk to someone you trust about what you’re feeling.
  • Connect with your community – having a good support system around you can help you to make the time to relieve stress.

We are always thinking of ways to give our patients the knowledge they need in order to take care of themselves. If you have any vision issues that you are concerned about make an appointment with us!

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