Help for Computer Users

Working long hours in front of the computer requires a fairly unchanging body, head and eye position which can cause discomfort.  Correct working position, periodic stretch breaks, frequent eye blinking, artificial tears for lubrication are all very important.  However, it’s not always easy to remember this when you are engrossed in work. Here are a few fun, free and easy-to-install “break reminders” to help:

WorkSafe Sam - break reminder
WorkSafe Sam

WorkSafe Sam is a desktop tool that provides stretching tips to help reduce eye and muscle strain for office workers (clicking on this link will open a file on your computer because this is a zip file).

Workrave is break reminder program that alerts you to take “micro-pauses” and stretch breaks.

Take Your Break is another break reminder designed to prevent or minimize repetitive strain injury, computer eye strain and other computer related health problems.  It has a friendly interface and a tray icon status indicator.  It runs quietly in the background, monitoring your activity and reminding you to take regular breaks.

And remember to blink.  Blinking cleans the ocular surface of debris and flushes fresh tears over the ocular surface. Each blink brings nutrients to the eye surface structures keeping them healthy. The flow of tears is responsible for wetting the lower third of the cornea. This is very important in KC, since this area is generally below the bulge of the cone and in many cases irritated by wobbly RGP lenses.  Maybe your job requires hours of work at a computer. Maybe you like to spend your free time surfing the internet. Whatever the reason, your body is probably feeling the effects of spending too much time staring at a computer monitor, which could result in Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS).  The most common symptoms are: eye strain, dry or irritated eyes,redness in eyes,difficulty in refocusing eye,neck pain,double vision,blurred vision, fatigue, and headaches.

Please join us on Thursday when Dr. Bezalel Schendowich will be providing a detailed insight into the importance of blinking, going beyond computer usage.

CathyW headshotCathy Warren, RN
Executive Director
National Keratoconus Foundation

Corneal Transplant Surgery Options

In this day and age of advancing technology, corneal transplants have changed from a long arduous ordeal to a more simple and precise procedure that offers faster visual recovery.  Instead of replacing the entire cornea for any and all corneal diseases, we now perform disease targeted partial corneal transplants.  If the disease involves the back layer of the cornea, we perform endothelial keratoplasty and replace only the diseased inner layer of the cornea.  Conversely, if the problematic portions are the front layers of the cornea, we perform anterior lamellar keratoplasty.  The co-morbidity and risk of rejection from partial corneal transplants are significantly less than the traditional full thickness transplants.

With endothelial keratoplasty, a small incision, about 4-5 mm is made and a sheet of donor endothelial cells are placed into the anterior chamber of the eye.  A large air bubble is then used to float this sheet up so that it opposes the posterior or back portion of the cornea.  The patient is asked to position face up for 24 hours.  Over this period of time, the cells will “stick” on their own and thus no sutures are required to keep the graft in place.,/span>

Figure 1 - corneal transplant
Figure 1

Anterior lamellar keratoplasty is done for superficial scars and opacities of the cornea or for keratoconus, a genetic degeneration of the cornea that is seen in younger individuals.  In this case, the native endothelial cells of the patient are healthy and therefore are left intact while the remainder of the cornea is transplanted.  This significantly lowers the risk of rejection, which is traditionally a much higher risk in young patients.  Multiple sutures are required to maintain this graft in place however, with the advent of femtosecond laser technology, the wound configuration is made in such a way as to promote rapid healing and visual recovery. (Figure 1)  Sutures are removed at an earlier time than with traditional surgery and the eye is able to undergo visual rehabilitation with glasses or contact lenses in 3-6 months’ time.

Corneal transplantation does not require waiting on a list for a donor to become available like it once did.  There are now multiple excellent eye banks across America that harvest, screen, and distribute donor tissue to surgeons.  This way, tissue is readily available and patients only need to schedule a time based on their own and their surgeon’s time schedule.  Post operatively, patients are asked to return to regular activity with the exception of no heavy lifting or bending for a period of 2 months.  Antibiotic and anti-rejection drops are started immediately after surgery and continued for several months after.  No oral medications aside from the patient’s regular medications are required.

Farid 3.6.14Marjan Farid, MD
Director of Cornea, Cataract, and Refractive Surgery
Vice-Chair of Ophthalmic Faculty
Director of the Cornea Fellowship Program
Associate Professor of Ophthalmology
Gavin Herbert Eye Institute, University of California, Irvine