Screen Time Leads to Chronic Dry Eye

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Dr. Ralph Chu sat down with KSTP Channel 5 News to talk about what chronic dry eye is and how to find out if you have it. Americans are spending more and more time in front of screens. In fact, the average American will spend more than 15 and half hours using media every day by next year. All that screen time can do serious damage to your eyes.


Jessica: Welcome back. 8:40. Americans are spending more and more time in front of screens. In fact, in the next year, the average American will spend more than 15 and a half hours using media every single day. All those screens, all that screen time can actually do serious damage to our eyes. So joining me now this morning is Dr. Ralph Chu from the Chu Vision Institute, rather. Good morning, sir.

Dr. Ralph Chu: Thank you Jessica.

Jessica: Thanks for coming in. Okay. So what is this, when we’re talking about chronic dry eye? What is it?

Dr. Ralph Chu: Well, chronic dry eye is when a patient doesn’t have enough moisture on the surface of their eye. It’s really common when we’re using computer screens because we’re not blinking as much subconsciously. Yeah. So we notice symptoms first of blurriness of the vision stinging and even excessive tearing can be a symptom of chronic dry eye.

Jessica: A lot of people use those drops, the re-wetting drops.

Dr. Ralph Chu: Yeah, the artificial teardrops help. And I think if a patient is finding that they have to use the artificial tears more than twice a day, that’s a time to contact their eyecare provider to ask about this potential for dry eye.

Jessica: Does it have any difference if you wear contacts or no? I mean, it can have an impact for anyone?

Dr. Ralph Chu: Yeah. I think it really affects all patients. I mean, typically it’s in the older individuals, not in children. And contact lens, whereas cancer for a little bit more from dry because the contact is sort of absorbing some of that tear from the surface of their eye.

Jessica: So what can we do about it?

Dr. Ralph Chu: If you’re using a computer screen, there’s a few tips that you could do. I mean, a lot of us sit with a fan in the office, maybe move the fan, so it’s not blowing directly on your face. Another thing is that maybe you can put the screen of the computer below your eye level, that prevents further evaporation from the surface of the eye.

Jessica: How does it do that, when it’s just down lower?

Dr. Ralph Chu: When it’s down lower, it kind of keeps your lid slightly closed. So the smaller that fissure, the less evaporation. And the other thing is just take more breaks. I mean, what we do is we blink less when we use our eyes. And so if we can take more breaks, that really helps reduce the symptoms.

Jessica: The number of people who in a recent survey said, “Yes, they have experienced these types of symptoms,” is pretty astounding. And the number of people who actually do something about it is even more astounding.

Dr. Ralph Chu: Yeah. So 89% of patients in this Prevention Magazine survey found that we’re using computers more than we were five years ago. 55% of the women who reported noticed more symptoms of dry eye when they used their computer. Burning, blurry vision and stinging. If a patient wants to learn more about it, they can go to to find out more about their chronic dry eye.

Jessica: Good information. Thank you so much for coming in. And actually you can actually take a quiz if you have symptoms or just want to know more about it online. And we’ve linked that site to ours. So just go to and click on our links tab right there. And you can take that quiz and find out more about it. Thank you so much for coming in.

Dr. Ralph Chu: Thanks Jessica.

Jessica: I’ve noticed it with myself with just the blurry eyes. So I’m going to take the quiz to find out more.

Dr. Ralph Chu LASIK surgeon Minneapolis Ophthalmologists

Board-certified ophthalmologist Dr. Ralph Chu is a fellowship-trained corneal specialist and a nationally recognized leader in refractive and cataract procedures. His specialty areas include cataract, LASIK, cornea, and minimally invasive glaucoma surgeries for patients in the Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Twin Cities areas.

Posted on October 12, 2022

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