Wink Glasses Battle Computer Eye Fatigue and Dryness

7:00 AM

Studies suggest that up to 90% of Americans who work on a computer on a daily basis suffer from dry eye (whose symptoms include burning, redness, watering, and fluctuating vision). The culprit? One of the biggest contributing factors is that we don't blink as frequently as we normally would while at the computer.  In fact, we blink about 50% less often, when engaged in a high demand visual task (such as reading or working on your computer screen).  Since blinking mechanically releases tear film from glands in the eyelids, going longer and longer in between blinks leads to a drier and more disrupted ocular surface -- which means discomfort and blur to you!  We know that blinking is a chief issue in dry eye, but trying to get those missing blinks back has posed an even larger problem. Try telling yourself to blink every 13 seconds.  Within a few turns you'll realize you spend more time thinking about blinking than actually getting work done.  The goal of an effective solution would be to blink more without having to actively think about blinking, and the makers of Japan-based Wink Glasses are attempting to achieve just this.

Every 10 seconds the battery charged fogging of a liquid crystal sheet across the left lens of the glasses occurs for a split-second, theoretically signaling the brain to blink. via

Wink Glasses visibly signal your eye to blink by fogging for 0.1 to 0.2 seconds every 10 seconds. The momentary visual blur is intended to subconsciously trigger a blink reflex as your brain tries to "clear away" the fogged image.  Using a small battery in the left temple, fogging is achieved by inducing an electrical current through a liquid crystal sheet in the lens of the glasses.  Earlier versions of the product could be individually regulated with a sensor to track your personal blinks that would fog with a greater or less frequency if desired, but the 2013 Wink Glasses edition has simplified things to aim for that 10 second mark between fogging where most people would naturally blink if they weren't on the computer.  This streamlined version of the technology sells for around $150 in Japan, and can be upgraded with your prescription for an additional charge.  A quick search found versions available on ebay for $370 with the individualized blink setting capacity.

No reports yet of any studies being done showing an improvement in dry eye symptoms with use of Wink Glasses, but as the technology becomes more affordable and mainstream outside of Japan we should know more about its effectiveness!  Until then, if you are suffering from dry eye symptoms at your computer or workstation, remember to blink.  Try to take a break and blink every 20 minutes or so during the day to allow your eyes a chance to recover.

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