Computer Vision Syndrome

Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) can affect anyone who spends three or more hours a day in front of computer monitors, and the population at risk is potentially huge with onset of the pandemic, so so many are working from home. Very little today can be done without the aid of a computer, hence we sit or better stand in front of a display that can do damage to our vision if certain considerations are not taken into account. Many of our actions/habits have an unconscious effect that harms our eyes.

Worldwide, up to 70 million workers are at risk for computer vision syndrome,(US 30 million)  and those numbers are only likely to grow. Today I want to focus on the potentially adverse effect computer use can have on our eyes, forget carpal tunnel, neck, and other unintended bodily harms.

The most common computer-related complaint involves the eyes, which can develop a blurred or double vision as well as burning, itching, dryness, and redness, all of which can interfere with work performance. Please read carefully below what has been learned regarding CVS:

  • electronic characters, which are made up of pixels, have blurred edges, making it more difficult for eyes to maintain focus.
  • to give the eyes a comfortable focusing distance, the screen should be about 20 to 26 inches away from the face. The closer the eyes are to the monitor, the harder they have to work to accommodate it. With time you will not be able to focus at a distance and will require ‘prism’ lens not to see double.
  • the University of Pennsylvania’s ophthalmology department advises that the center of the monitor should be about four to eight inches lower than the eyes to minimize dryness and itching by lessening the exposed surface of the eyes because they are not opened wide. This distance also allows the neck to remain in a more relaxed position.
  • overly bright overhead light and streaming daylight force the eyes to strain to see what is on the screen. A bright monitor also causes your pupils to constrict, giving the eyes a greater range of focus.
  • wearing glare-reducing or tinted lenses can help to minimize glare (blue light filters)<-I do this with an orange lens glasses or could check device or glare reduction.
  • Ophthalmologists suggest adhering to the ’20-20-20′ rule: Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and look at something 20 feet away <-I use an app for this to remind me

 

Doc suggests applying warm moist compresses to the eyes every morning and having humidifier on when working or ‘zooming’ on your device.

Sunglasses Are Healthy

Please assure me that you are smart enough to wear sunglasses outdoors? The skin around our eyes and eyelids is among the body’s most delicate and thinnest. Wrinkles are created by sun exposure among other causes. Harmful rays – Ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun can damage not only the skin, but also the cornea, lens, and other areas of the eyeball.Sunglasses do protect against vision damage/loss and cancer. Think cataracts, ultraviolet light can pass through the eye to the lens and cause cataracts, most common cause.Wear sunglasses, decreases your risk over your lifetime of cataract formation.

So if not for fashion, please for eye safety. They can both make you stylish and keep you safe. Do not skimp, it is a health investment, get ‘large’ covering as much as comfortably possible of your eyes.  Look for lots of eye coverage, a big lens with label coverage or protection against UVA and UVB rays.

This goes for children also. It is suggested that children as early as possible wear sunglasses. If they will keep them on that is the start age.

Be creative with children make it natural for them to use throughout their lives.

‘I Am Negative!’- Really?

So you got a NEGATIVE SARS CO-2 test result (being incorrectly called COVID-19 test). The presence of the virus is being determined in the PCR test. Recall COVID19 is the disease/illness with whatever of the many possible symptoms.

Okay, what exactly does a negative result mean? IT is not a get out of the house card. First, realize that the accuracy of the tests is still in question. Also how much virus replication is necessary for present-day tests to sense? The PCR is the most used test to assess the presence of this virus in your body. A Negative test does not mean you do not have a low level or even a high level of the virus. Individuals for example with type O blood type might not develop symptoms nor test positive but may actually be shedding the virus!  As you can imagine these are the unknowing folks that spread the infection, they feel ok and test negative hence home free?

A Chinese study, after vigorous tracking, shows approx. 44% of transmission is from presymptomatic folks. So common sense tells you if you wait for symptoms to quarentine\isolate, you most likely already ‘shared’ the virus. Think about how the common cold virus spreads.

If you were exposed Monday – your test is negative, day five (when symptoms commonly start your test has a 38% chance of being a ‘false’ negative. Do you get the idea? Please wear a mask distance this virus is not a hoax!

Motivation

My intent in blogging is to share symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment essentials. The what if, what to do descriptions can save you from preventable disease and help with chronic disease care. Health is always on our minds and having learned from my patients I continue to be a physician sharing knowledge and experiences. Some are rules that will make you realize that our bodies speak to us – we must listen! There are lessons you should not learn the hard way. There are rules that unless followed your body will revolt. The information herein builds while respecting the individual’s intelligence to pay attention and recognize their bodies’ needs.

DocHandal’s website present philosophy and our mission dictate what and how we share free medical information. We try hard not to become, nor appear to be commercial, regional, bias, nor political. 

We ALWAYS welcome reader comments and input no matter the topic.

COVID -19 By The Numbers

You should not rely on soundbites or headlines that incompletely or dictate reality, please use information you can gather, such as what I have mentioned below, as sources and form your own insights. A wonderful example is the constant mentioning of the fatality rate from this virus illness. You can read it is 7 % here, 4 % there but in reality, the fatality rate for non-nursing home residents would only be 0.1% or 1 in 1,000. And that includes people of all ages and all health statuses outside of nursing homes. To that end please read on and have a look at these sites, unless I am ‘preaching to the choir’.

How many cases are there? Many but one website is the go-to site listing the best available data regarding US number  COVID-19. I recommend John Hopkins University (JHU) US dashboard. The JHU’s Center for System Science and Engineering (CSSE) responsibly maintains this publicly accessible dashboard.

For worldwide numbers, I personally watch the JHU site by country listing.

To review your state’s case number, turn to the Health Department’s websites ex. my state -Arizona (AZ site). Some states may have varying useful and current data. It is important to look at what dates are of data. AZ site reporting customarily lags a week. Please look for the timestamp of the latest update. 

 

Banned Masks!

California and Colorado, including many public venues and attractions, have banned face masks with valves, as reported by Forbes unless you can just put tape firmly over the valve!

N 95 Masks with valves are for industrial purposes not for medical use.

Don’t just see ‘N-95’ and buy the mask. N95 face masks with one-way valves are readily available to purchase. The valve filter allows your breath to be expelled. Yes, it is cooler and more comfortable in the summer months but not at all helpful. Yes, less restrictive than masks without a valve, but they are also useless in preventing the COVID-19 spread. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends covering your nose and mouth in order to protect yourself from infection but also to protect others from coming into contact with your respiratory droplets. These masks can put other folks in danger of catching the virus you exhale. Recall even if you have no symptoms you can expel virus. Studies say anywhere from 4-5 days of the virus living in your body to 14 days on average.

The eyes are the other site of virus entry, hence glasses or visors are part of healthcare personnel attire (PPE).

 

 

It is not ALL CLEAR

At present COVID-19 mortality rates is 50% to 62% for adults admitted to the ICU. The hallmark lung findings: dry cough and fever and then pneumonia is not found in everyone. COVID-19 doesn’t always go completely away ad you are back to yourself! It might linger for weeks in some and in others might leave permanent body organ damage.

However, the burden of COVID-19 infection in children was much lower compared with seasonal influenza, with CDC reporting (as of April 28)  eight deaths in children ages 14 and younger related to COVID-19 compared with 169 influenza-related deaths in the same age group during the 2019-2020 flu season.

Adults can suffer heart attacks when infected with the SARS Co-2 virus. Not all will have had hypertension or Diabetes Type 2 although these pre-existing conditions are commonly seen in these patients. Often no lung symptoms! This is from a retrospective study within a single health system in New York City.

To re-iterate my advice: You do NOT want to get this virus if you can avoid it. Please follow safe distancing and  not venturing out unnecessarily. Age, as well as other medical conditions, should make you more patient as we all wait for a worthwhile vaccine or at least until medical professionals decide upon the best treatment plans. 

This infection is so hard to recognize and treat as in every person the virus acts differently. Is it because of what shape our immune system is in? Hence you have read my recent blog on a current regimen to boost body defenses (immunity) it as well as in the media.

Want Out?

SARS Co-2 virus is not suddenly gone!!

Lockdown has been if nothing else different. No matter your housemates, children, roomies, or animals stress was inevitable. I am blogging because I feel strongly the economy should not take priority over health. In my humble and well-read opinion it is a bit rushed! The simple idea behind a lock-down, shelter in place, stay home whatever your jargon preference – is to allow the health care system to catch up. Do we have enough tests, testing, tracking, PPE (masks gowns, face, shields)? No definitely NOT! So when you see the term in headlines ‘second wave’ I fear it will be worst. and what about the healthcare providers? They are spent if not already ill (14% worldwide) if that is accurate, but I believe that number is most probably low. Can’t manufacture healthcare providers in a covered factory.

So if you MUST venture out, please consider the following:

How much time/exposure would the outing be

Outdoors is safer

Can you easily stay 6 feet apart

No lingering-it is safer to go to AutoZone to buy an oil filter versus sitting in a restaurant having leisurely breakfast.

Pre-entry thoughts are masks being worn, also are servers 6 feet apart, and are tables allowing for the same distancing.

From French Channel24same?

A recent (May 5,2020) University of MD. poll found that 78 percent said they would not be comfortable eating at a sit-down restaurant, and 67 percent said they wouldn’t be comfortable shopping in a clothing store. Only 18 percent of respondents were in favor of reopening movie theaters. So if you are like me you are not alone!

Hang in there are over 100 vaccines in development at this writing and many innovations being recognized. An intriguing one is using a fabric already approved by FDA for wound care, This polyester like fabric w metal dots of zinc and silver weaved into fabric used for masks that neutralize the SARS-Co2 virus in one minute.

COVID-19 New Reveals

Recall, I mentioned in an earlier blog, certain countries were hit harder – had more cases of this virus and more deaths. Yes, cities given their population density were postulated to have more cases just on that but now think mutations!

I also mentioned in a past blog there were a number of mutations postulated. Clearly now research shows  that COVID-19 mutated early on in the pandemic to create a more transmissive strain: the ‘G clade’, which may also be associated with a higher viral load. Sure enough, that is what was found in patients in Italy. At ‘home’ NY residents had a high percentage of the ‘G clade’ than found in other states. 

More news about this very complex virus is that its impact on the human body can last a very long time and leave many with permanent damage to organ function. Some individuals after as much as 50 days are struggling with symptoms. Children with COVID-19 can suffer an overwhelming inflammatory syndrome, a  version unique to children, attacking the heart and causing death. Naturally, children with a predisposing condition are at greater risk.

I would like to take an offensive approach and after research internationally and in US literature I want to share a few recommendations that make sense to me. Many medical opinions suggest boosting your immune system in the case. To that end recommendations have included relatively benign supplements*: 

Zinc -losenges best -75-100mg/day 

Vitamin C -500mg twice a day

Vitamin D3- 1-4000 mg /day

Melatonin, slow-release begin with 3 mg. and increase as tolerated (at bedtime) increase to 6-12 mg daily

 Quercetin 250-500 mg.  twice a day – an antioxidant, antiinflammatory found in plants

Some individuals have started to monitor with an oximeter (very hard to find to buy as most made in China) to monitor their oxygen saturation. Recall you % drops before you get dry cough and pneumonia.

I have not mentioned in detail, to date, the Hydroxychloroquine drug but its use is for when you believe you are infected. Must be started ASAP, 400mg twice a day then 200 mg twice a day for 4 days. French pulmonologists from early in outbreak to date recommend this medication. Because of clotting seen in many COVID-19 patients, ASA 81-325mg a day is another recommended drug.

 

*check with your healthcare provider prior to taking any supplements