Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Eye Health Center

Font Size

Heavy Computer Use Linked to Glaucoma

Link Reported by Japanese Researchers
WebMD Health News

Nov. 15, 2004 -- Spending too much time looking at a computer screen may raise your risk of the vision-robbing eye disease glaucoma, particularly if you're nearsighted, according to a new Japanese study.

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that ultimately cause damage to the optic nerve. It can lead to blindness, if not treated, and can be screened for by eye health professionals.

More than 10,000 workers from four large Japanese companies were studied by researchers, including Masayuki Tatemichi of the environmental and occupational health department of Japan's Toho University School of Medicine. The study appears in the December issue of the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Participants told researchers how much computer time they logged in a typical day, as well as their long-term computer use history. On average, the workers were about 43 years old.

More than 500 participants had problems with their peripheral vision (visual field abnormalities) as measured with visual field testing. Of that group, 165 were found to have glaucoma.

However, the number could have been even higher, since some participants with peripheral vision problems didn't undergo all of the tests used to commonly diagnose glaucoma.

Heavy computer users who were farsighted or nearsighted seemed to have a higher risk for visual field abnormalities, say the researchers.

Nearsightedness was also noted in 136 of 165 participants with glaucoma.

The optic nerve (the nerve that's responsible for vision) in nearsighted people might be "structurally more susceptible to computer stress," write the researchers.

Concerned about safeguarding your eye health while using your computer? Expert advice includes:

  • Take regular breaks. Looking away from the computer screen for five minutes per hour may help.
  • Check your distance; sit 2 feet away from the screen.
  • Position the computer screen below eye level (and sit up straight).

Today on WebMD

Woman holding tissue to reddened eye
Learn about causes, symptoms, and treatments.
Simple annoyance or the sign of a problem?
red eyes
Symptoms, triggers, and treatments.
blue eye with contact lens
Tips for wearing and caring.
Understanding Stye
human eye
eye exam timing
vision test
is vision correction surgery for you
high tech contacts
eye drop