Glaucoma & Heavy Computer Use

Introduction & Summary of the Research

Glaucoma & computer use

Those who use computers heavily are at greater risk for glaucoma than the general public, particularly those who are short-sighted. Glaucoma is an insidious disease - because one typically does not notice its development. Glaucoma is characterized by increasing loss of peripheral vision eventually leading to severe vision loss.

A 2004 cross-sectional study in 9124 Japanese workers indicated that there was a possible association between heavy computer users and glaucomatous visual field abnormalities. In other words - if you use computers heavily, ie, programers, software engineers, gamers,

The study looked at typical daily computer use, as well as long-term computer use history. More than 500 participants had problems with their peripheral vision. Of that group, one third were found to have glaucoma ... perhaps more than a third, since some workers with peripheral vision problems didn't receive all the testing to accurately diagnose glaucoma.

Even more significant was that heavy computer users who were farsighted (presbyopia)or nearsighted (myopia) seemed to have a higher risk. Nearsightedness was found in 82% of those with glaucoma.

Heavy Computer Users & Glaucoma Research

Source: Possible association between heavy computer users & glaucomatous visual field abnormalities: a cross sectional study in Japanese workers, Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 2004;58:1021-1027
Copyright, 2004 BMJ Publishing Group Ltd

Masayuki Tatemichi, Tadashi Nakano, Katsutoshi Tanaka, Takeshi Hayashi, Takeshi Nawa, Toshiaki Miyamoto, Hisanori Hiro and Minoru Sugita

This Japanese study assessed whether there is a correlation between extensive daily use of the computer and glaucoma risk. The scientists screened 10,202 randomly selected Japanese employees with a mean age of 43.2 using a portable instrument called a Frequency Doubling Technology Perimeter (FDT) that analyzed whether there is a loss of visual field and which is used for detecting glaucoma. The subjects also received general health checkups and were checked by an ophthalmologist for vision health. The scientists also gathered daily computer use information and whether they had any vision conditions such as near- or far-sightedness.

It was found that 522 of the subjects were found to have visual field limitations. (Glaucoma is a condition in which the peripheral visual field diminishes.) There was also a marked correlation between blurry vision and heavy computer use. It was further found that the risk of glaucoma was higher in those subjects with blurry vision, and highest in those subjects whose blurry vision was caused by myopia.