A Caution About Glaucoma for Computer Users!

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We are now seeing that 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.

Glaucoma & Computers

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, data entry personnel and gamers.

The study looked at typical daily computer use, as well as long-term computer use history. More than 500 participants (5.4%) 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 or nearsighted seemed to have a higher risk. Nearsightedness was found in 82% of those with glaucoma.

See the study

Self Help For Glaucoma

Interestingly, there is a apparently a lot you can do to help alleviate glaucoma - even though conventional treatment is pretty drastic.

For example, research has shown that glaucoma patients who take a brisk, 40-minute walk five days a week for three months can reduce the pressure in their eyes by approximately 2.5 millimeters - similar to the reduction seen when using beta-blockers.
Passo, M.S. et. al., Regular exercise lowers intraocular pressure in glaucoma patients. Investigative Ophthalmology 35. In ARVO Abstracts, March 15, 1994.

See a detailed discussion.