Video display terminal use and dry eye: preventive measures and future perspectives
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionActa Ophthalmologica. 2022. 10.1111/aos.15105
Background Dry eye disease (DED) is a common cause of ocular pain and discomfort. Dry eye disease (DED) stems from a loss-of-tear film homeostasis and is frequently seen in video display terminal (VDT) users. Video display terminal (VDT) use reduces blink rates and increases incomplete blinks, leading to tear film instability and ocular inflammation, promoting DED. Purpose To assess and evaluate the methods for preventing VDT-associated DED and ocular discomfort. Methods Studies were found using PubMed and Embase with the search terms: (digital visual terminal* OR computer use OR screen use OR smartphone OR display OR visual display terminal* OR computer vision syndrome OR tablet OR phone OR screen time) AND (dry eye OR DED). Results Thirty-one relevant articles were found. Ten described single-visit studies, whereas 21 had a prolonged follow-up. Most preventive measures of VDT-associated DED aimed to increase blink rate or directly prevent tear film instability, ocular inflammation, mucin loss or ocular surface damage. Using an adjustable chair and ergonomic training, blink animations and omega-3 supplementation improved signs and symptoms of VDT-associated DED. Taking frequent breaks was associated with fewer symptoms, but no study assessed the commonly suggested 20-20-20 rule. Conclusion Preventive measures, such as blink animation programmes, oral intake of omega-3 fatty acids and improved ergonomics act on different parts of the vicious cycle of dry eye and could supplement each other. A comparison of the efficacy of the different interventions as well as more evidence of the effect of increased humidity, VDT filters and ergonomic practices, are required.